March 10th, 2015
Ice Fishing Device that Could Save Your Lifeby Marianne Huskey December 4, 2013
In the early 90’s, ice fishing became a passion of mine. I remember my first ice fishing experience in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan on Munuscong Bay of the St. Mary’s River. Walleyes and Perch were the main species for us with an occasion Northern Pike rolling through.
During my thirteen years living in the Upper Peninsula I spent time ice fishing on many Michigan bodies of water including the St. Mary’s River, Saginaw Bay, Burt Lake, Mullet Lake and the Les Cheneaux Islands. Each body of water came with challenging ice conditions. On the Great Lakes you can always expect conditions to change with current and wind. Every year we would hear about a large chunk of ice breaking off in Saginaw Bay. Along with the large chunk of ice would be stranded ice anglers and their equipment waiting to be rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard. On the inland bodies of water pressure cracks would form causing locals to build bridges or find alternative routes to get to their favorite fishing hole.
Regardless of the challenges mother nature has tossed our way we would manage to find our favorite spot and spend the day in our shanties watching a bobber, jigging or simply staring down the hole waiting for the next bite. On occasion if you decided to set down your ice fishing rod and step outside it was bound to happen. That lone Northern Pike would grab your bait and along with it he would take your favorite ice rod. The rod was lost!
As your buddies are laughing and you stomp your feet calling that northern pike every name in the book. You can replace the rod and reel with a new one. Most of us have lost a rod and reel down the hole and were able to replace it, but some of us have endured a much greater loss.
I have known many friends and acquaintances who have lost their lives while ice fishing! The currents of the Great Lakes have taken lives on the ice with changing ice depths over the years. Both early ice and late ice with the look of thick black clear ice can persuade even the most cautious of anglers to cross a dangerous area.
I can recall heading out on Burt Lake for early ice and those big perch. After driving my ATV onto the ice with my son, who was 10 at the time, I unloaded the gear and drilled my first hole. The breath from my lungs was sucked out of my chest as the ice auger went thru so freely. I would say I was lucky to have 1 ½” of ice under me. My first reaction was to yell to my son and tell him to head to shore immediately. Then I looked at the ATV and prayed I would be able to get on this machine and carefully drive it back to safety.
As the years have passed and ice angling has progressed, so have the safety measures we should all be taking before heading out!!!!
We can start by using items such as the Frabill Ice Picks. These Ice Picks can be used to assist after you have fallen thru the ice. With an ice pick in each hand you can gain leverage and crawl back to safe ice.
Wear a whistle!!! If you need help, the whistle will allow others locate you even in low light conditions.
These small tips are great for all anglers; but the best safety tool I have seen in all my ice angling years would be The Nubulus Emergency Flotation Device.
In 2012 I received a call from Duffy Kopf. Duffy was aware of my angling experience and Huskey’s Guide Service. He asked me to take a look at this life saving product.
The Nubulus has proven its self time and time again with over 100 lives being saved since its first use. It’s packaged in a small rectangular shape measuring 17.5” x 11” x 5”. This life saving unit can be inflated manually by a CO2 canister via the attached lanyard. The flotation buoyancy is 1000-lb capacity. The Nubulus Emergency Flotation Device can be mounted to the front, side, or back of any ATV or snowmobile.
If an emergency situation arises you can inflate the device and toss it to a person in danger or if you and your ATV or snowmobile goes thru the ice you can pull the lanyard and the Nubulus will offer temporary flotation to allow time for rescue. Many of our ice rescue teams are now carrying the Nubulus as standard ice rescue equipment.
The Nubulus will be available for purchase at the St. Paul Ice Fishing Show on December 6-8, 2013. You can also find more information about this life saving product at www.nubulusflotation.com; or contact Duffy Kopf by phone: 608-576-2700 or email.