Success at First Ice with Seaguar Lines

Seaguar Smackdown

Throughout the Northland, intrepid anglers are taking their first tentative steps onto the frozen surfaces of pine-studded lakes, welcoming another season of hardwater fishing. After weeks of organizing tackle, sharpening auger blades, charging batteries, and spooling reels, holes are being cut, bites are being triggered, and fish tails are slapping the ice. With most of a tumultuous, uncertainty-filled calendar year now in the rearview mirror, the action-packed first ice period is finally upon us.

“The first weeks of fishable ice represent one of the truly exceptional hardwater opportunities during the winter months,” states Troy Peterson, a.k.a. ‘Mr. Bluegill’ — a full-time guide and hardwater specialist from eastern Wisconsin. “After a fall of scouting new lakes, organizing gear, and watching last year’s videos on YouTube, I’m more ready than ever to get on the ice — and shallow water panfish and walleye are at the top of my agenda.”
Panfish beckon to ice anglers all season long, and the first weeks of walkable ice cover witness some enormous crappies and sumo bluegills being extracted from the depths. You’ll find first ice panfish in two general locations: along the outside edges of remnant green weedbeds and suspended over the main basin of the lake, frequently in 25-35 feet of water. As winter progresses, those weedline fish will trend toward the basin or scatter over deep mudflats, although many lakes host a low-light weedline bite throughout the season.

Peterson notes that, “all of my panfish rods are spooled with 2 lb. test Seaguar IceX™. One of the first things you’ll notice about IceX™ is its extremely low memory — even in freezing temperatures — which means that it comes off the reel nice and straight, without that “slinky effect” that can happen with stiff, coiled line. The abrasion resistance of 100% fluorocarbon IceX™ means that I won’t have to worry about breaking off a giant bluegill as he spirals around beneath the ice and rubs my line against the edge of the hole. And of course, remember that fluorocarbon is a very low-stretch line which enhances its sensitivity, so you’ll feel more bites and catch more fish.”

Seaguar IceX

Captain Troy Peterson talks about Seaguar IceX™

Tap into the first ice panfish frenzy by identifying a high-probability weedline spot, like a point or an inside turn, and focus your efforts on fish that collect there throughout the day. Bluegills frequently prefer a bait presented at or slightly above their depth, but crappies respond best to baits presented well above them. No matter which panfish are on your agenda, try to get a fish to separate itself from a larger school and investigate a high-riding bait, because the fish that zoom in from a long distance are frequently the most reliable biters.

Few species attract more first ice attention than walleyes. These toothy predators spend much of the fall along shorelines, pursuing baitfish over weeds and rocks, and many of those fish linger near shallow structure and adjacent flats when ice first covers the lake. First ice is a great time to target those fish, before they slide toward deeper structure and become less aggressive as winter progresses.

Peterson reveals that, “when I gear up for walleyes, I spool my reels with 10 lb. test Seaguar Smackdown™ – a super smooth eight-strand braided line – and add a leader of 6 or 8 lb. test IceX™. I use a small barrel swivel to join the two lines, which helps to eliminate line twist that might be created with aggressive jigging lures. A stealthy presentation is key for first ice walleyes, and the near invisibility of IceX™ below the surface, coupled with its enhanced abrasion resistance, give me the confidence to go after the biggest first ice predators under the toughest conditions.”

The classic hardwater presentation for walleyes is a 1/4 oz rattle spoon dressed with the front half of a minnow or shiner. Work artificial baits aggressively until walleyes appear on your electronics, then slowly raise those baits and impart subtle motions to trigger strikes. If regulations permit, consider a two-fisted approach of aggressive jigging with a rattle spoon with one line, while presenting a live minnow on a light wire hook through a nearby hole; walleyes will frequently be called in by the aggressive action and noise of the spoon and then strike the vulnerable live bait


The first ice feeding frenzy for both walleyes and panfish is here! As fishable ice continues to expand its reach, leverage these tips from Troy Peterson, Mr. Bluegill, to hoist more trophies topside this winter. Indeed, early ice fishing, like the Seaguar lines and leaders use to enjoy it, is Always the Best!

Key Seaguar products for ice anglers

New for the 2020-21 ice season, Seaguar IceX™ is a low memory, micro-diameter ice line that’s engineered from exclusive Seaguar 100% fluorocarbon resins. It is built for hard water performance, providing exceptional knot and tensile strength and abrasion resistance even on the coldest days. Because IceX is a fluorocarbon line, it is virtually invisible underwater and has almost zero stretch. As a result, IceX™ is extremely sensitive, helping you detect more bites and catch more fish. 50-yard spools of IceX™ are available now in 2, 3, 4, 6 & 8 lb. test with MSRP $8.99.
Seaguar IceX

Seaguar Smackdown™ is a premium eight-carrier braided line, manufactured with a high-density weave for a perfectly round profile, an exceptionally thin diameter and an incredibly smooth finish. Smackdown™ is an excellent main line for ice anglers, providing unparalleled abrasion resistance, knot strength, and sensitivity. 150-yard spools of high-visibility Flash Green and low-visibility Stealth Gray Smackdown™ are available now in 10, 15, 20, 30, 40, 50 and 65 lb. test with MSRP $29.99.

Seaguar Smackdown<

About Seaguar Fishing Lines

As the inventor of fluorocarbon fishing lines in 1971, Seaguar has played a prominent role in the advancement of technologies to improve the performance of lines and leader material for both fresh and salt water anglers. Seaguar is the only manufacturer of fluorocarbon fishing lines that produces its own resins and controls the manufacturing process from start to finished product. Today, Seaguar is the #1 brand of fluorocarbon lines and offers a full spectrum of premium products including fluorocarbon mainlines and leader material, 8-strand and 16-strand braid fishing lines.

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