Creating The Perfect Ice Hole

Don’t let a frozen venue stop you enjoying a day’s fishing. Stu Conroy explains how he manages to cut out a perfect swim.

England ace Stu Conroy with his trusty weed/ice cutter!
England ace Stu Conroy with his trusty weed/ice cutter!

I thought I would let you all in on a great way to ‘cut out’ your peg when fishing through ice that isn’t too thick. It involves using a lightweight weed cutter that simply screws to your landing net. I have used this technique a few years now and so far have not seen anyone else doing it this way, so here goes…

Firstly let me stress this is only effective when the ice is up to 6mm thickness. Any thicker could result in pole sections coming apart or even breaking. The weed cutter itself has two blades around six inches long that need to be sharp along the back edge. Welded in the centre is a standard screw fitting that fits 90% of landing net poles.

I extend my landing net pole to full length then, starting at about a 10 o’clock angle, I cut a series of lines at maximum reach all the way along to a 2 o’clock angle. Then by turning the cutter flat and tapping it between the cuts the ice breaks off from the mass and is now floating. Push any floating sheets of ice underneath the mass in manageable pieces. You now have a decent area to play fish.

I then like to create thin channels to actually fish through. This gives the fish some cover while still allowing you to ship your pole in and out comfortably. I decide how many channels I need and how far I want them and repeat the process. I personally like to take the top piece of my landing net handle and fit it onto the No3 section on my carp pole for this part. You should be really careful doing this and only do it if you are confident that your pole is strong enough. Also, don’t use this method if your pole sections are prone to coming apart unless you tape the joints together first.

Extend your channels about 2m at a time. This allows you to draw the ice back towards you and then push the sheets under the ice with the stronger landing net pole.

The benefits of using this method are;

  1. Pinpoint accuracy when cutting ice up to cover, such as trees, boats, rush beds etc.
  2. Minimum noise and disturbance.
  3. Cutting neat, narrow channels instead of a wider hole helps the fish feel more secure hence encourages more bites.
  4. Speed. It takes me just 5-10 minutes to complete my swim and get fishing!