By: Matt Johnson
Ice fishing is right around the corner, and I
don’t know about the rest of you, but I’ve
been tinkering with my ice gear all summer
waiting for the day when ice forms once
again. Now as we near the long awaited
arrival of that first sheet of ice, it’s time to
start focusing on a plan of attack and to
make sure our gear is up to par and ready for another fun filled winter season.
I always make a stop at Thorne Bros Custom Rod and Tackle in Fridley,
Minnesota to help me prepare for the up-coming ice fishing season.
Thorne Bros, as well as know, offers an excellent assortment of custom-made
ice fishing rods, ranging everything from extreme finesse fishing for pannies,
all the way to heavy hard-jerkin rods for lakers and muskie, and literally
everything in between. Panfish, perch, walleye, bass, pike, catfish, lake trout,
muskies… Thorne Bros makes a rod for the situation.
I’m very fond of their panfish line of rods (probably has something to do with
myself being a panfish geek) and I truly feel they are in a class of their own.
Whether you’re sitting over a tightlipped pod of bluegills with the Finesse Plus
and a spring bobber, or an insane school crappies with the Panfish Sweet
Heart, Thorne Bros offers a rod for any panfish situation. Some of my favorites
are the Sweet Thing Plus, Power Noodle, Finesse Plus and the ever popular
Sweet Heart Plus.
Moving on from Panfish to Perch, Thorne Bros offers a few perch options that
cater to the needs of both the aggressive and finesse style perch angler.
Labeled as the Perch Sweet Heart, they present options for inside and outside
jigging rods. By inside and outside I mean your location in or out of a portable
fish house. The inside rod provides a shorter handle and the choice of a
slightly shorter rod. The inside rod comes in a 28 or 32 inch version. The
outside rod provides a longer handle (for better grip/control with gloves on) as
well as oversized fuji alconite eyelets to help reduce ice-up. The outside rod
comes in a 32 inch version.
While the perch rods can be used for panfish, walleye and bass as well,
Thorne Bros makes several options that are designed specifically for walleye
and larger gamefish. The Walleye Sweet Heart Plus is one of Thorne Bros
most popular rods. The Walleye Sweet Heart is also offered in an inside and
outside version. Whether you’re targeting walleye with a jig and minnow, or a
jigging spoon or swimming lure, there is an action/feel that will suit your needs.
Choose from 9 options that range in actions from medium to medium-heavy,
and lengths from 28 – 32 inches. These options allow the ice angler to
effectively target walleye throughout any winter conditions.
A line of rods that really caught my eye in recent years was the Professional
Plus and Laker Breaker line of Thorne Bros Ice Rods. Maybe this is mostly due
to that fact that I’ve been trying to pursue more species, but nonetheless,
these more powerful, yet fast, style of rods have really become a part of my
arsenal. Choose for a rod that ranges anywhere from 32 to 45 inches, with
actions allowing you to accommodate any big game situation. I like working a
36 inch Professional Plus for catfish and pike. Couple these rods with your
favorite open-water reel and you have yourself a very comfortable, balanced
One last series of rods that I would like to mention are Thorne Bros Dead Stick
line. I save these for last because I feel these are Thorne Bros most unique
line of ice rods that really offer something that no one else does. As stated on
Thorne Bros website, “A requested custom rod from Doug Stange. Designed
as a minnow rod without the hassle of bobber stops or set floats. Limber tip
allows angler a visual check of minnow action and detects the lightest of
strikes while producing very little resistance to fish. This rod really shines as a
stationary rod while you jig with another rod. This solid glass rod features
oversized guides for minimal ice build up when fishing outside.” Dead sticking
has become more and more popular in recent years, and this rod from Thorne
Bros, is in my mind, the epitome of dead stick rods. For anyone who has used
one of these, they can vouch for their performance for being in a class of their
own. Dead sticking is a technique that has helped me become a more
productive ice angler, and for a variety of species and conditions. The Thorne
Bros Dead Stick line of ice rods has really assisted me in that productivity.
Outside of Thorne Bros many options of custom ice rods; they also offer a
store full of tackle and fishing equipment. With several brands and options to
choose from, Thorne Bros is packed full of ice fishing goodies, not to mention
their staff is some of the more knowledgeable anglers in the area who provide
some outstanding insight and info for anyone who stops in willing to learn a
thing or two. My stops at Thorne Bros are usually not too short.
See everything that Thorne Bros has to offer by checking out there website…
Ice fishing will be here before we know it, and I’m looking forward to another
*** Check out the video on Thorne Bros Rods… CLICK HERE