Call it trickle-down ice-onomics – how a majority of the most significant advances in ice fishing technology are the direct result of cutthroat tournament competition.
From the nation-teams competing in the international ice fishing theater to the two-man teams sparring on domestic hardwater in the NAIFC, competition drives innovation. Simple as that.
Of course, most of these ice aces keep hush-hush – but in such close quarters, it’s simply too difficult to keep the cat in the bag. That, and some of these guys just thrive on teaching the rest of us how to catch more fish.
Like Frabill pro staffer, Jacek Gawlinski, an NAIFC competitor and captain of the Polish National Ice Fishing Team, a guy who eats, breathes and sleeps ice fishing. Well, we’re not sure he sleeps … dude’s like Red Bull in human skin.
“I spend a lot of time fishing, that’s what I do, and I am constantly developing, tweaking and improving on ice fishing tackle and gear designs,” says the Polish-born Gawlinski.
First glance reveals a slight resemblance to the miniscule, almost toy-like palm rods used to catch prize-winning European species no bigger than our bait. Likewise, the combo draws some parallels to the old-time “Schoolie” designs favored by eastern Ice Belt anglers …
But on some serious ‘roids – and with covert military budget bling.
“We spent a lot of time getting this combo right. It offers all advantages of palm rods but for bigger American-size fish. We call it the Black Ops, because it’s really an ice fishing weapon. Feels like an UZI or MAC-10 with suppressor in the hand. Light, quiet, but extremely powerful and dangerous at the same time,” says Gawlinski.
For starters, the Black Ops features titanium components, a one-piece reel and superlight rod blank.
That means uber-sensitive bite detection, zero jig twist, and abbreviated lengths for sight fishing and finesse bites that require a surgical approach. But it also has the backbone to land double-humped ‘gills, two-pound crappies, jumbo perch—‘cause that’s where the rubber meets the road.
- Technique-specific actions to match your fishing style and targeted species
- Fits in the palm of your hand allowing extra sensitivity for jig control and strike detection
- Composite spool and body
- Large arbor 1:1 reel ratio
- 8” line retrieval per revolution
- Balanced spool with super-smooth drag
- Line feeds straight off spool, eliminating line coils and lure spin
- Ambidextrous over-sized reel handle
Features exclusive Sub-Zero lubrication system to keep reel liquid-smooth in any temperature.
Plano Molding Company
Traditions Media, LLC
Image courtesy Frabill