Feb 122011

I was going to title this article “An awesome Ice Rod Combo Meets a Mediocre Ice Fisherman” but I thought that would have been giving away too much up front.

Frabill Bro 28" Combo

The Frabill Bro Series 28″ Medium Combo was given to me for review by the wonderful people over at the Outdoor Blogger Network.  If you write an outdoor themed blog you need to get on their list!  If you enjoy reading about the outdoors download yourself a good RSS feed reader and subscribe to some of the blogs on their site!  There is an abundance of talent on the OBN (and it’s free).

Joy arrives at my front door

When you think about ice fishing rods it is easy to conjure up images of 2x4s with heavy test wrapped around them or bargain basement tip-ups from your local big box store but this combo is in a completely different class.  I’m going to introduce you to a bit of ice fishing equipment here that carries the same level of quality you would expect from warm weather gear.

Not your grandpappy's ice rod

The first thing that stuck me about the Frabill Bro 28″ ice fishing combo was the quality.  When I opened the box my first reaction was “wow!  this is an ice rod?!”  With two tone cork and a sturdy reel this ice combo is actually better than some of the spinning combos I use for springtime fishing.

Nice reel

Adjustable handle

The 28″ Frabill combo is rated to tackle large Perch and Walleye.  The graphite rod even has an extra sensitive tip with a blaze orange indicator to help you see the lightest of bites.

Orange indicator

With such a nice setup I almost felt over prepared to tackle a small body of water like Green Lane’s Deep Creek Dam.  This really is an ice rod combo that belongs up north.  It should be the prized possession of someone who spends his free time in an ice shack with a bucket of beer.

Deep Creek

So I packed everything up in my handy bucket/seat and set out for an adventure.  Please note ginger ale and not beer in my bucket (PA fishing  at its best).

Gear bucket

Let’s just say I was the only one at the lake with a depth finder out on the ice…  As you can see the Frabill Bro combo fits nicely in a bucket for packing light on the ice.

What a day

I attempted to use everything I could think of to pull fish from the cold depths that day.  Jigs, Powerbait maggots and even some wooly buggers I had tied earlier in the week.  A few times I witnessed my line move but whenever I attempted to set the hook nothing was there.  After talking to others on the ice that day it seemed I wasn’t the only one coming up empty handed.

Frozen and wind-burnt after about five hours of fishing the sun started setting and I was forced to head home.

The trail home

I went out a few more times after this first trip.  Each time ending up with the big ol’ skunk.  I even tried ice fishing the glorious Harleysville Duck Pond, a place where you can catch a Bluegill on a bare hook and still I came up with nothing.  Is the Frabill Bro rod just too much rod for Pennsylvania fish?  Perhaps.

What I can say is the Frabill Bro 28″ Medium Combo preformed awesomely in the field.  The reel was smooth in the cold and the rod was light and easy to jig for many hours.  If I were the type of guy that ice fished inside of an ice shelter in a deep productive lake this would be the rod I would want to use as my primary jigging rod.

Next time I go out I’m going to see if I can set up a few more lines in my area.  Maybe more bait in one area will bring more fish my way.  I saw an article about using standard spinning rods with a rig to create what the author calls “whip ups”.  Might have to try making some of these rather than buying more gear**.


My final verdict is that the Frabill Bro Series 28″ Medium Combo is an awesome ice fishing combo and I am a HORRIBLE ice fisherman!  I promise to keep at it until I land a fish on this rod.  It looks like spring may be comming early but even if I have to use this combo mid summer I will update this post with some feedback on the action of the rod.  I’m dieing to see how this combo feels when landing a fish.  STAY TUNED!

You can buy a Frabill Bro Series Medium Combo and other AWESOME ice fishing gear at Frabill’s site

-Do you or someone you love ice fish in Montgomery or Bucks county PA?  Are there fish to be had through the ice?  Please tell us about it in the comments below!

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