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Creating Your Own Home Made Trip Ups Fishing


Making your own trip-ups or trip-downs for ice fishing can be both fun and rewarding if you successfully create something that is operational.

This post will be one in a series of posts discussing the topic of homemade trip-ups, how to make a trip up, and how to improve upon homemade trip up designs. In the end, we will only have a few goals we are trying to meet with our home-made trip-ups:

Is it portable?

You will need to carry it out to the ice, so you want to make sure it’s not a herculean task just to move it.

Is it a fail-safe?

You will want to consider what happens when the device fails. Lots of things can happen to a tip-up. It could freeze, it could wind up, and it could fall through the ice. How will you prevent these things?

Is it effective?

Even once you know what happens in case of failure, you will want to know if you can rely on it to not only hook a fish but alert you when a fish is hooked.

Is it easy to use?

Consider the set-up and tear-down time. Consider the spooling time, if a fish takes your line out. How much time are you going to dedicate to your device when on the ice? The beauty of most tip-ups is that you set them, and then you can easily reset them when needed.

Can it be replicated?

If you have a truly good design that is effective, portable, and predictable, you will want to build more than one of them. How difficult will it be to re-create your trip-up?

Don’t Over-Think It!

You may have an idea in your head of the greatest, most convoluted contraption that will not only let you know when a fish has hit your bait, but will also set the hook, and even reel it in for you. Sure, go for it! And when you are fiddling with frozen parts, dead batteries, and half of the materials you constructed disappear beneath the ice, I will reel in the fish I caught with my 3-part trip up that I made in under a half-hour.

Seriously, the ones that you see on the ice that actually catch fish are what you should be looking to create. These designs are already tested, tried, and functionally catch fish regularly. Don’t re-invent the wheel if you don’t have to, just get out your tools, and get to work on something you already know will do what you need it to do.

Borrow from the Best

As I stated above, if you really are looking to put together a device that will catch fish, you shouldn’t try to re-engineer something that has already been perfected (unless that’s what you consider fun…but we’re in this for the fish, aren’t we?). Most of what you will need to include is already prepared for you.

The line already comes on spools. Fishing rods are, in essence, line guides. Although you may think you have the greatest idea, chances are someone has already tried it, and there is a reason you don’t see your design on the ice, in the forums, or on any fishing thinking.

Dissecting the Ice Fishing Trip-Up

Before you embark on your quest to create your own design, you should consider what parts of an ice fishing trip down or tip up are really necessary for making it work. Inspect the ones you have already seen. Try to figure out how they work, what makes them effective, and what the necessary parts of an ice fishing trip up really are.

Here are the functional parts of an ice-fishing trip-up:

Spoolyou needs some way for your device to store its line, and then allow the line to slip out when (preferably only when) a large enough fish pulls on the line.

Anchoryou will need your tip-up to stay above the ice at all times, there should not be a way for the tip-up to slip into the hole it is fishing out of.

Alarm you will need a way to be alerted to the fact that something has taken line off of your spool. This will also involve some kind of trigger that triggers whatever kind of alarm system you have in place.

With these elements in mind, how will you fashion a home-made tip-up?

Stay tuned for my simple, 3-step homemade trip up design, coming soon to an ice fishing blog near you.

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