how thick ice can you hand drill? - Colorado Fishing Forum

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Old 01-15-2006, 10:49 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default how thick ice can you hand drill?

i've never ice fished, would like to start. sportsmans wearhouse has a hand auger on sale for $29! how thick of ice can you reasonably drill through by hand? i'm big and strong, but when i picture doing this, it doesn't seem like the thing you do with 2 feet of ice. how long should it take to drill a hole through different thicknesses of ice? how long does it take with a gas auger?
thanks.
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Old 01-15-2006, 11:01 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: how thick ice can you hand drill?

If you are fishing with ice thicker than 1 ft., IMO a power auger is necessary for enjoyment of the sport of ice fishing, unless you are tipup fishing for monster pike and have an extremely likely spot and a tipup set there, then you don't have to move and actually shouldn't if the spot has good features...
I had to hand drill through 2+ ft of ice at big blue last week and that was miserable. It took nearly a minute per hole. Makes me appreciate it when our power auger isn't broken...........have a good one.
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Old 01-15-2006, 11:10 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: how thick ice can you hand drill?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TroutFishingBear
If you are fishing with ice thicker than 1 ft., IMO a power auger is necessary for enjoyment of the sport of ice fishing, unless you are tipup fishing for monster pike and have an extremely likely spot and a tipup set there, then you don't have to move and actually shouldn't if the spot has good features...
I had to hand drill through 2+ ft of ice at big blue last week and that was miserable. It took nearly a minute per hole. Makes me appreciate it when our power auger isn't broken...........have a good one.
wow i thought it would take A LOT longer than that. thanks.
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Old 01-15-2006, 11:14 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: how thick ice can you hand drill?

I only have a hand drill and drill myself 2 holes and my son one in ice upto 20 inches... Sometimes we move here and there if we havent got any bites, have to put the kid on fish you know. I still enjoy it, takes a little longer to drill the 5 or 6th hole thats for sure.



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Old 01-16-2006, 12:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: how thick ice can you hand drill?

about a min thru 2' ice with sharp blades i can drill 3-4 one right after the other and 10 15 holes a day lets me move a bit
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Old 01-16-2006, 05:35 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: how thick ice can you hand drill?

i drilled over 50 holes this weekend at the lake john tourney and i can't even imagine doing that with a hand auger or a drill powered auger through 20 inches of ice. no thanks!!!.
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Old 01-16-2006, 09:01 AM   #7 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: how thick ice can you hand drill?

You can use a hand auger and enjoy fishing through 24" of ice.* I did it last year.* It kind of depends on whether you want to exert yourself when you go fishing. If you accept physical activity as a part of ice fishing, hand augers are sufficient. Usually no need to rush holes through the ice, so you can take your time. Drill one hole, clean it, put a line down it and jig a few times, then set it on a holder and drill another, repeat. If you're really having trouble, and someone with a gas or other power auger is nearby, chances are they will cut you a hole or two if you give them a beer, anyway. Hell, many will cut your holes and offer YOU a beer.

If hand augering, it's best if you pick a good spot and don't need to move around much and drill a lot of holes. For lake trout fishing at a place like Granby, you can get away with just a handful of holes, for example.* It also helps to have a double-offset handle, which you will have to order separately for your auger (most likely) for about $20 + shipping (I can tell you where, if you want).* With the double-offset handle, you can spread the workload between both arms, rather than with just one, so cutting the holes drains you a little less.* Also, you don't need to put a lot of downward pressure on.* If you play with your technique, and always have a sharp set of auger blades, you can do well with the right hand auger.* I highly recommend strikemaster augers over eskimo, for instance.
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Old 01-16-2006, 10:49 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: how thick ice can you hand drill?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cutthroat
I highly recommend strikemaster augers over eskimo, for instance.
YES. very important thing right there that cutt mentioned. We had an eskimo once that took a long time to drill a hole, even with fresh blades and not very thick ice.
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Old 01-16-2006, 11:10 AM   #9 (permalink)
 
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Default Re: how thick ice can you hand drill?

Of course, you can drill more holes with a power auger.* A drill auger is as good for smaller holes, if you have a way to hook up to an external battery.* If you're in good shape, try the hand auger.* If you have an eskimo and it drills slow, I wouldn't assume it's a fault of hand augers overall, however.* You can return it and get a strikemaster Mora ($40), or Lazer ($69) for now, and do your research on the power augers for later.* There are some new ones coming out that are pretty nice (a coupe of four-cycle gas augers have become available, for instance).* I don't have much use for eskimo-brand hand augers.* Seems like they are hit or miss.* Strikemaster usually cuts like butter right out of the box.

This is me cutting through about 15" of solid (clear/black) ice at Elevenmile in December with my sharp Strikemaster Mora 6" and the double-offset handle. I'm in reasonable condition, but don't exercise. Drilling this hole wasn't too hard in terms of force, because I rely on sharp blades to do the hard work. I was trying to cut fast for the camera. I drilled several others by hand that day, too - and a bunch with a drill hooked up to a motorcycle battery. I'll eventually buy a power auger, when I like them and have disposable cash, but in the meantime, these are economical ways for me to cut a sufficient number of holes to fish all day long.
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Old 01-16-2006, 09:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: how thick ice can you hand drill?

I have hand drilled through 6-7 ft. of ice on lakes in Minnesota.

The problem is, the offset part of the handle hits the surface of the ice before the drill goes through, and that stops you. But the stores there sell extensions for the shaft so you can go deeper. But that's a problem too, because if you start the hole with the extension installed, the handle is so high up in the air that you can't do a good job of cranking the auger. So you have to drill down about 3 ft., then install the extension, then keep drilling until you hit water.

Of course it helps to have a couple of big husky sons along, but they catch on pretty fast and pretty soon they won't go ice fishing with you.

When the ice is thick you learn to pick your spot pretty carefully, because you aren't going to be moving around very much.

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