Ice chisel (spud bar) can be well counted as one of the most ancient tools for winter fishing. Archeologists have found spuds at excavations of centuries-old settlements. There are numerous citations about chisels in ancient written sources.
Half a century ago all fishers used spud as main tool to cut ice, but with the appearance of compact augers fishermen started forgetting about them and ice chisels had faded into significance. But practice has shown that ice augers are far from being universal and it often happens that it’s impossible to do without ice chisels. Preparations to winter fishing start well before season opens, anglers buy all necessary accessories including ice chisels. Ice chisel – is a striking tool meant for cutting and breaking the ice. Before the ice auger was invented a spud was a basic tool for winter fishing.
Spud Bar is used during winter fishing to:
- Make new holes on relatively thin ice (25-30 cm).
- Enlarge already made holes when big fish is coming to surface if it cannot go through the existing hole.
- Clean holes (when ice fishing tip-ups are set up).
- Measure safe thickness of the first and the last ice.
- Fix an ice shelter in some cases.
A spud bar (ice chisel) is a piece of steel, as a rule about 19-60 inch in length with a tapered point at the edge. There are 1-piece and 2-piece chisels at the market. Generally, 1-piece chisels can be small (19-30Inch) or full size (50-60Inch). Every manufacturer has a specific chiseled teeth design which is more or less convenient for use. THAT’S IT!
The Best Ice chisel at a Glance
- Jiffy Mille Lacs Deluxe – Editors Choice, best overall chisel, but most expensive.
- Eskimo CH11 – Top Selling Product and Great One-Piece Chisel.
- Nim’s Spud Bar – Affordable alternative to Eskimo.
Best Mini Ice Chisels
- Jiffy Mini Mille Lacs – Best Mini Chisel (30-Inch).
- Rapala hammer Chisel – Best hammer Chisel (19-Inch).
- Eskimo Bucket Chisel – Best Bucket Chisel and affordable alternative to Rapala (19.5-Inch).
Best Offer of This Season (2019)
The discovery of this season is Paradise Sports. This manufacturer offers two unique models:
All of them have distinct design which makes winter fishing convenient and pleasant.
10 Best Ice Chisels Compared
So, people who spend time winter fishing should give a closer look to the following chisels.
Jiffy Mille Lacs Deluxe Chisel Review
Eskimo CH11 Review
Nim’s Spud Review
Homemade ice fishing chisel
Some fishers choose more complicated way and make spud themselves. We recommend to choose a spud from the rating we suggest.
There are some pictures of the homemade chisel for winter fishing. It’s made from a solid steel rod. The handle is wooden and its weight is pretty insignificant.
The spud makes a rather loud noise when used to break the ice, so it’s better to make 2-4 holes within 1-2 meters from each other. Hole diameter depends on the kind of the spud used and ice thickness.
To make holes with spud quickly and efficiently and adjust them for comfort fishing you should:
- Clean the spot from snow downwind side where you want to make a hole. It will help you to put your chair evenly with your back to the wind.
- Be sure to wind safety rope around your hand, otherwise, when the hole is made, ice chisel can easily slip from your hands and jump into the water.
- General rule for ice chisel hole-making is to remove ice evenly from all the surface. Do your best not to cut the ice through because the water coming from the hole will make your work really difficult.
- First thing you should do is to outline the hole contour then cut the ice with rapid vertical strokes slightly turning the chisel from the longitudinal axis. If necessary and depending on the chisel edge type, ice pieces should be cut off from the center to the walls or vice versa. You should constantly remove small pieces of ice from the hole using your ice skimmer.
Wedge-shaped tips should be inserted at the angle of 60-70 degrees. When ice is practically cut through, break the remaining obstacle with several sharp strong blows, so that water rushing from the ice-hole could push crushed ice out. Sharp hole edges can be made even if necessary.
Tips for Using Spud
- Choose the best spud with handle you can easily grasp even wearing warm gloves. Usually, 4 cm is enough.
- Break is an ice hole in the opposite sunlight direction. Natural mirror created this way should prevent fish from noticing you.
- You should definitely get rid off sharp edges inside an ice hole to prevent fishing line cutting.
- Make sure to wind a safety rope of the spud around your hand in case you fall through the ice, so you can always use your spud as a support to pull yourself out of the water.
- You can also stretch your coat between two spuds to hide from the wind.