5 Features of ACC Ice Rods
By Greg McCain
Ice-fishing rods occupy a specialized niche in the overall market.
Used for a relatively short time each year in the northern portion of the country by a hardy group of fishermen, ice rods retain the basic components of a traditional spinning pole while fulfilling the specialized requirements necessary for success on the hard water.
ACC Crappie Stix produces a line of rods that surpasses the necessities for ice fishermen. We discussed the features with members of the ACC pro staff who get to experience ice fishing each winter. They provided info about five key features of ACC ice rods.
1. Action: Most responses focused on the overall sensitivity and power of the rods.
“As far as the ACC rod, I like the backbone and the super-sensitive tip,” said Illinois guide Reagan Smith (Reag’s Guide Service at www.centralilcrappieguide.com). “The bend when hooking any fish is all in the top part of the rod. The bend happens between the top and second-to-top eyelet, letting the rest of the rod be the backbone to support whatever size fish you have on.”
Wisconsin angler Davis Lenzen (Flopping Crappie on YouTube) said the design of the ACC handles some of the nuances of the bite under the ice.
“The quick tip or soft tip is great for using small (1/64 or 1/32) tungsten jigs,” he said. “The tip will load up on these small jigs, so when a crappie has a negative bite, the rod tip will unload, indicating the strike.
“The ice rods also make great ‘dead stick’ rods. You can set up a slip bobber and live minnow or just a minnow while using another rod to actively jig. The rod has quite a bit of load, allowing the fish to inhale the minnow without feeling resistance from the rod tip.”
2. Grips: ACC ice rods come with a choice of handles, traditional cork or the super grip made popular by the company’s longer rods. The cork provides a classic look of a quality rod on the ice. The super grip allows for just that, a little more hand-to-rod tacky traction for a few dollars more.
Reagan said he likes the cork grips although the super grips are also gaining a following in their second year of availability.
A new feature of the handle is the lack of a reel seat, which makes for a lighter rod. In the tradition of the “Tennessee” handle used extensively on spinning rods years ago but mostly discontinued today, the reel can be taped at any location on the handle to meet the fisherman’s preference. Electrical tape works just fine to secure a light reel to the handle although specialized rod tape is available also.
3. Guides: The guides are another important component of ice rods because of icing concerns. Smaller guides are more prone to icing in the extreme temperatures of fishing on the ice. Goose Gutzman, who fishes and guides on lakes all over Minnesota, said he likes bigger guides all the way to the tip. With that idea in mind, the guide eyes, made of stainless steel, have been enlarged in the latest versions.
“This year, they have bigger guides so they don’t freeze up as easily,” said ACC owner Andy Lehman.
4. Length: ACC rods come in three lengths: 28”, 30.5”, and 32”. The different lengths serve a variety of purposes, including fitting the rod to available space.
“Length is also (a key feature),” said Goose (check out his Facebook page for information about Goose’s Guide Service). “If you are in a portable fish house, you definitely want a shorter rod because you don’t want to drill the hole so far away from yourself.”
Even though the length of the longest ACC ice rod is not drastically different from the shortest one, Reagan said the longer rods offer more fish-fighting potential.
“I like the longer rod because it helps absorb the fight a little bit better than that of a shorter rod,” he said, “no different than using a 10’ (versus) a 5’6”.
“Regardless, a fish on the end of an ice rod is a blast, and you will be happy with whichever size you have.”
5. Orange tips: Regan does a good bit of his ice fishing at night, and one unique characteristic of the ACC rods helps detect the bite in low-light conditions. The tips of the ice rods, like most other ACC models, are orange.
“I like that when night fishing I can see the orange tip great,” Regan said.
Check out the ice-fishing rods and all other models at www.acccrappiestix.com. The ice rods are in stock now and ready for use on local ice-covered lakes.