New Products and Upgrades For 2008
The best way to really test a product is to get it into the hands of the public and see what they can do with it. For the Hook-Set Tip-Up, the ice-fishing season of 2007 was just that test. Based on common questions we received from those who purchased this tip-up, we have come up with a couple small changes and a couple new items for the 2008 ice-fishing season. Those of you who already own a Hook-Set Tip-Up will receive these upgrades for free and those who are going to be purchasing them will see the upgrades as standard on the tip-ups you purchase. We highly recommend you take a look at our new products as well as they were specifically designed in response to requests made by people who bought and used the Hook-Set Tip-Up in this past year. We also highly recommend that you watch the new 2008 video. It is much more in depth than the 2007 video and answers some of the questions that we were asked last year. Remember...this tip-up is very different in use an operation than any other tip-up you have ever owned. That's why it works!!!
New Product #1 – Line Winder/Mouth Spreader
On a few of the other tip-ups currently on the market, there is a small handle on the bottom of the spool that allows you to wind the line at the end of the day or after catching a fish. The Hook-Set Tip-Up can’t have that feature built right in to the spool because of the design of the line guide…so we have created a small tool that you simply attach to the rod below the spool and wind up your line. In an effort to provide you with a useful tool other than just winding the line, we also designed this tool to act as a mouth spreader. It will be available on our web site and in stores in 2008. See the parts/products/buy now tab above for more information.
New Product #2 – Hole Cover/Tip-Up Lift
The main purpose of this item is to lift the tip-up off the ice. This accomplishes a couple of different things…
1. Keeping the spool within the cylinder of ice formed by your auger is very highly recommended. It will allow for better hook setting than allowing the spool to be below the bottom edge of the ice.
2. Keeping the lower bushing out of the water will aid in preventing ice from forming in that bushing.
The second purpose of this item is to prevent ice from forming on and light from getting in your hole. I have used this tip-up for years without a hole cover. You don’t “need” them for successful operation of this tip-up…but it was proven to me over and over again by one of my pro-staff this year that they are a huge advantage. Not only do they block out the light and make the bait look more natural, but they prevent almost all the ice that typically forms in the hole from even forming in the first place. We were out on the ice in 5 below temps with a 25 below wind chill…at the end of a 6 hour fishing day he barely had skim ice on his holes. I must have cleared the ice from mine 15 times.
This item will also be available on-line or in stores.
Upgrades – Getting the Hook-Set Tip-Up in the hands of the public was a great way to see what people liked or didn’t like about it. 2 upgrades are being made based on the feedback we received this year. These will be available for free to all people who purchased a tip-up in 2007.
Upgrade #1 – New Line Guide
We have made the opening in the line guide bigger for purposes of re-winding the line. The current design made it cumbersome to wind the line anywhere but the bottom of the spool. The new design has a larger opening for feeding the line on the entire spool rather than just the bottom. It was also made slightly larger to be perfectly free wheeling around the main rod. That way there is no drag added to the line as the fish pulls to set off the mechanism.
Upgrade #2 – New Lower Bushing
On extremely cold days the small amount of clearance between the lower bushing and the rod that the spool is attached to…allowed for some ice to form and cause freeze up issues. These issues are very easy to overcome if you use the tip-up properly, but I decided to redesign the lower bushing to hopefully eliminate this issue all together or at the very least, lessen it dramatically. The lower bushing has been redesigned to reduce the surface area in contact with the rod by about 90%. There is now greater clearance around the rod so that it will maintain smooth operation even if some ice forms. We have also added open chamber venting that will allow you to simply breathe on the lower bushing much like warming your hands with your breath if any ice does form so that you can easily melt this ice on the fly and keep your tip-up in peak operating condition. If you are out on a cold enough day that a lot of ice is forming on that rod and getting up into the bushing...you are a true warrior. In that case, I highly recommend you get the Hook-Set Tip-Up Hole Cover/Tip-Up Lift to prevent any ice from forming in the first place!
Other Issues and Fixes
Flags Falling Off - The glue we used to attach the flags to the flag rod seemed to release in cold temperatures. That coupled with the position of the flag when set under the t-bar led to flags falling off. When we found out about this, we immediately researched and found a new glue that works well...unfortunately, some tip-ups were already in the hands of consumers and we couldn't get to them to fix them...We apologize for this issue and offer these recommendations…
Re-position the Flag – If the flag is not pointing straight down toward the ice when set under the t-bar, simply grab the flag spring where it attaches to the base of the tip-up with your hand or a pliers and turn it clockwise until the flag does point straight toward the opposite end of the tip-up. That will lessen any pressure on the seam and allow the glue to hold better.
Use Zip Ties or Twist Ties to Hold the Flag – A customer told me that he simply made two small holes about an inch from the top and bottom of the flag just outside the seam and added zip ties to hold the flag on. The glue holds very well to the rod itself but not the flag so adding the zip ties and tightening them around the glue holds the flag on very well.
Line Guide Spinning – When people hold this tip-up in their hands and pull straight down on the line, the line guide will spin freely and allow line to come out without the mechanism triggering. This seems like as concern but in reality this situation does not exist on the ice…The fish will not grab the bait directly below the reel and then slowly drop straight to the bottom of the lake. These fish will always go one direction or another which will pull line at an outward angle from the spool and trigger the mechanism. Any outward angle on the line prevents the line guide from spinning freely and forces the spool to turn activating the hook-setting mechanism. (One thing can cause this to happen on the ice...If you drill your hole at an angle, and the spool sits directly above the lower lip of the ice, the line can act as if the fish is swimming straight down and simply spin the line guide...Make sure that your holes are relatively straight and the spool is in the center of the hole and you shouldn't have any problems at all!)
Minnows Taking Out Line – When using large baits that are very active…the free spinning nature of the line guide allows the minnow to take out line if it continually swims in a circle around the hole. People have asked me if they should bend the line guide to add a little tension. Don’t do that! Any tension you add to the line guide will make the tip-up that much harder to trip. With very large fish, that may not be a problem but with small fish you want this as free as possible. My recommendation is to simply put a slight tilt to the main rod. By tilting the rod and tightening the thumb screws the line guide won't spin freely and the mechanism will still hook the fish. You can also clip off the tail of the minnow. That makes it much weaker in terms of pulling out line, but it still swims vigorously when a predator approaches.
Catch and Release - When using other tip-ups, conventional wisdom tells you to let them swallow the bait. This may lead to catching more fish, but it also leads to killing the majority of the fish you catch. If you want to release these fish, the trauma of getting a hook ripped out of the throat and the simple amount of time you handle the fish while taking out the hook results in a mortality rate of about 60%!! When a warden told me that statistic on the ice last year, I was mortified. With the Hook-Set Tip-Up, the fish doesn't have the time to swallow the bait so the hook sets are typically in the front or corner of the mouth. It is much quicker and easier to remove the hooks. Bottom line, you spend less time handling the fish, you don't injure the fish by hooking it deeply, and you can return it to the water with a high chance of survival.
All in all, I am extremely happy with the results we heard and experienced this year. When I was growing up I knew full well that a day on the ice would be a combination of excitement when flags went up and disgust when a lot of fish were missed. With our basic design and the recommendations we received, ice-fishing enthusiasts can now expect to catch a much higher percentage of the fish that bite and also be able to release those fish back into the water to bite and fight another day.
Ben Scherg Owner/Inventor
BBJ Outdoor Innovations, LLC
Copyright 2007 BBJ Outdoor Innovations, LLC All Rights Reserved