How To:  Automatic Hook Setting Ice Fishing Rigs

In January 2021 I stumbled across a new to me ice fishing rig on the wonderful Facebook group Newfoundland Hunting and Angling Junkies. It's an automatic hook setting rig also known as a jaw jerker that operates similarly to a mouse trap only for ice fishing. My units are comprised of a 28" Red Wolf Ice Rod/Reel combo and an HT Rod Tender/Tip Up rig both purchased at Canadian Tire.



As originally designed, the HT rig has a nice rod holder to mount your ice fishing rod. The line is ran through an alligator clip as pictured so when a fish takes the bait, the alligator clip pivots and the orange flag pops up.




The HT rig is modified by removing the clip, pivot assembly, two eyelets and the flag, then relocating one of the eyelets to the centre of the board. This was my prototype automatic hook setter modeled after photos on the Facebook Group, temporarily made from a metal coat hanger.



My final Hook Setters were made from the flag pole in the HT kit, then using some electrical tape just above the pivot to keep the hook setter from falling down the fishing hole when triggered.



Unit set and waiting for fishy. When a fish takes the bait it pulls down on the hook setter (red) end which releases the rod tip to jerk upwards setting the hook as quick as a mouse trap.



I've used my two Automatic Hook Setters on every trip so far this year and have not been disappointed. I've yet to find the hook skinned clear of bait, I'm definitely missing a lot less trout on these rigs than my traditional stationary hanging baits. I venture to say this rig is more accurate then I am tending the line!




French also made up a pair of Hook Setting Rigs. His fishing rods were longer than mine so he attached his hook setter to the eyelet via a length of string to achieve the right angle and tension on the rod, as did many others on the Facebook group.



Terry went a different route with his units using a piece of ABS pipe cut on an angle then screwed to a 3" board to hold his ice fishing rods. His units work equally well as the rest for a fraction of the cost.



Another economical addition to my ice fishing arsenal this year were these HT rubber coated ice fishing stick holders also found at Canadian Tire for under $10. They are well suited to my Outdoor Pros Ice fishing sticks which are end wound and not centre wound like my old sticks, but these holders should work well for both.






Cheers, Mike

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Copyright 2011 Michael Smith