As I get older, I find myself getting a bit annoyed with the prices of ice fishing gear these days. The price of ice houses, sonars, heck even walleye lures ain’t cheap anymore… It’s not that I’m a dimestore fisherman, but I tend to look more for value than anything else. And the same thing goes for buying an ice fishing rod and reel combo, I just can’t do the $20 combos anymore. You know what I’m saying. You’ve had the cheap ice fishing combos in your hand, and they seem to feel fine but months later you regret it…
Nowadays, I ONLY buy the same ice fishing rods and reels. Why? Because they work great for my needs and they last. For ice fishing for walleyes, I want a rod that can not only detect when they bite light; but can handle the PIGS too.
For me, a good ice fishing combo includes the right rod AND the right reel. The rod needs to be longer, in my opinion. A short rod just doesn’t cut it on a BIG walleye. And the ice reel needs to be smooth, with a solid drag. I’m not an inline reel guy – I’m more of a traditional spinning reel type. To each their own.
Ice Fishing Rod
I’ve bought countless ice fishing rods through the years, and this is the ONLY one I use anymore. It’s the Elite Tech Ice Series Rod by Fenwick. While I have a lot of 28” ice rods for perch, the 36” rod to me is ideal for walleyes ( I prefer the Medium action ).
And the best part about it? It retails under $40. I can detect the slightest bites, and I have the confidence in the rod when I have a personal best on. It’s really a mean, green machine!
Ice Fishing Reel
I have a box in my shop that’s overflowing with old ice fishing reels. So many cheap, 1 ball bearing throways that I hang onto for Lord knows what reason. I should really sell them for my sanity’s sake, but for now…let’s focus on the reels I actually use…
I’m a big Pflueger fan. Sure I’d love to have an arsenal of Shimano’s, but I find the Pfluegers to be comparable and a heck of a lot cheaper. I like to use the smallest series of the Pflueger President – model PRESSP20x. It’s an AMAZING little reel and I own 6 of them (and they’ve all lasted).
There are a lot of great ice reels out there, but for me, these reels are worth every penny. They’re smooth (7 bearings), and have a great drag system. I like to play my walleyes and this reel is great for that.
Any way you slice it, be cautious of buying the cheap ice fishing combos. You can get this ice fishing rod and reel combo for about $80 – a perfect combo for under 100 bucks.
Need Proof??? Check out this video of the walleye ice fishing combo in action!
So if you’re looking for the best walleye ice combo – seek out the Pflueger President / Fenwick Elite Tech Ice combination…you’ll be glad you did!