They do it all over the place – ice trolling. It’s big with pan fisherman and perch patrollers and there is a fair amount of technique involved. Essentially, ice trollers find some sort of structure on a map, be it a reef, a weed bed or sunken car from the winter before and then they find the pod of fish and follow it using electronics, determination, and a little bit of luck. The fish rarely stop and hang out below because they are looking for food. I mean, what else do they have to do? They hang out together, band against predators and look for something to eat. If you’ve ever watched a school of sunnies go by on an underwater camera they usually move at a slow, unchanging pace and drift in and out. If you are an ice troller and ready, your holes are already laid out and you chase the school.
Tony Roach. who is a fishing guide, media personality and a member of Ice Force as a pro staffer spends more than 90 days a year on the ice. He trolls a lot for walleyes, crappies, perch and ‘gills. He also uses the new Strikemaster Lithium Lazer to drill a lot of holes. Right now, Strikemaster claims that it can drill 56 holes in 24 inches of ice. If you look at the Eskimo Ion, they claim to be able to drill 40 holes in 24 inches of ice. If you ask Joe Baltich (me), I’m going to dispute both claims and say about 30 for the ION electric ice auger and about 40 for the Strikemaster Lithium Lazer. I read all the claims on the boxes and I swear that every manufacturer tests and re-tests their products until they finally hit the one optimal time and that is what gets written on the side of the box. Then, MY customers want to hold ME to the writing on the box as if I wrote the dang thing myself. So, my usual practice is to downplay the numbers to something more realistic. Users of said equipment MUST take into account the FACT that the blades dull down after every cut and in North Dakota where the sand blows off the points onto the ice, blades don’t last for crap. It’s like drilling in emery cloth. Blades feel sharp but the edge is gone. Well, guess what? That electric auger is going to cut less holes per charge if the blades are dull. That being said, there will be people out there who will get 56 holes – maybe – depending on where they are fishing. Even clean, clear ice will dull blades. Get them re-sharpened – I know where you can do this. HINT-Click Here
That leads me to comparisons. The Strikemaster Lithium Lazer is a full size auger which means that when drilling 40 holes, less bending over is needed and you don’t need the extension. 50 volts has more torque than 40 volts and I suspect that in colder weather, you’ll get more holes out of a 50 volt battery. Now the Strikemaster Lithium does weigh more than the ION at 24 pounds for an 8″ diameter shaft. The ION is like 23 lbs. That’s only a pound difference. Now, I’ve talked to many customers who love their IONs. I would say that most of them are NOT from the ice trolling division. Most drill 4-6 holes a day and call it quits if nothing is coming through. Tony Roach uses an ordered method of laying out holes and staying ahead of the school. Sometimes that requires actually running ahead of the school and making holes and fishing with a team. (Sheesh – that sounds like work) With a heavy auger like a Jiffy Pro 4, dropping down a 39 lb. “boat anchor” and then hoisting it up for 40 times would pretty much do me in, not to mention a lot of our customers. But, if ice trolling is your desire, then you need lighter stuff otherwise you will lose motivation when the call to follow the school is heard. I believe the extra volts in the Strikemaster Lithium Ion Lazer would do a fine job in most conditions and probably provide that extra “oompf” in cold temps. You can set up a grid system in the ice with holes spaces 5 yards apart and play tic-tac-toe with the fish.
The Strikemaster Litihium Lazer Auger comes with a fast charger. Plug in for 2 hours and your battery is at full power. There is also a battery level indicator to let you know when your plan may need some reassessing. The handles on the auger are the conventional, long filament VANDAR high-impact handles with a big throttle that you can run with your mitts on not the tinier switch that ION has. I’ve had a Strikemaster Power Auger for years now with the same style handles and throttle and I have YET to have an issue. I like them because they are smaller and don’t stick out as much. I know about two instances where I actually witnessed broken handles – that’s it. Both were broken in shipping and I had to pull eight bolts to put on the new set. Every winter, I hear about this being an issue, but it’s always by somebody who’s “heard” about it and not actually witnessed it. It’s a non-issue to me. I’ve had absolutely great luck with my Strikemaster handles for years and years. I just wonder what is really happening out there. “They just broke.” Riigggghhhhttt.
The Strikemaster Lithium Lazer comes with a 3 year warranty on the motor and a 1 year warranty on the battery. Another advantage that this auger has is in the blades. They are Strikemaster Lazer blades and that means they are not the chipper type blades or standard straight blades like the ION has. What does that mean? If you are redrilling frozen holes in your wheel house or wherever, Lazer blades start at the center of the old hole, start small and get wide via shaving. Other blades styles can get stuck and the motor torque, while not quite enough to crack off the ice that is hanging up the outer ends of the blades, is still enough to drive one’s knuckles into the wall. Boo-boo – or at least, a fair amount of struggling to make the auger blades not take such an aggressive bite. Anybody who has tried this know that it is easier said than done. With pie-shaped blades, re-drilling is a heck of a lot better in re-drilling in my opinion.
What will be the special requirements of the Strikemaster Lithium lazer Ice Auger? You are still going to have to keep the battery warm just like the ION. You could probably buy a fancy softside, dedicated case with a logo on the side like ION now offers, or you could simply go to a big box, cheap junk retailer of your choice and buy a small softside cooler for like $8 bucks. Maybe pick out something with the Little Mermaid on the side or a unicorn with rainbowse theme. If you really want to get fancy, go buy a hand warmer packet or $1.99 and drop it in the cooler along with your Strikemaster Lithium battery. Now, you have a heater system for your battery. Then, go run around the ice like a crazy, productive, fool and drill your 56 holes on one charge. Hey – it’s your weekend. Who an I to judge?