Back in the 1930’s, three ice-fishing buddies began assembling their own tip-ups in a basement and selling them for beer money. Their Beaver Dam tip-ups revolutionized ice fishing as we now know it. Since then, not a whole lot has changed.
Perhaps the best ice-fishing innovation in recent years is the battery-powered ice auger. Using hand augers or chisels can be grueling, especially if there’s thick ice. Gas-powered augers are great, when they’re working, but are prone to malfunctions caused by carburetors, air filters, and precise oil/gas ratios. They are also heavy, and if you’re not careful, their exhaust can melt through your clothing.
Recent innovations in lithium batteries has been a game-changer for many powertools. The new Strikemaster Lithium 40V Ice Auger does everything a gas drill does—except it won’t smoke you out, leak gas, and blow out your eardrums. Weighing only 26 pounds, it’s easy to transport, and the combination of its 15.9:1 gear ratio and razor-sharp serrated stainless steel blades delivers impressive torque and power. With 16 inches of ice, you can drill 100 holes between charges with the 8-inch model, or 80 holes with the 10-inch model.
Another feature that I like is that it’s easy to switch from forward to reverse, which makes it easier to back out of a hole. Automatic lights pointing downward are another nice touch.