There are certain disadvantages to owning manual auger, but you can also use it to your advantage. You just have to know limitations and strengths of manual augers. One of the biggest strengths, for example, is it’s durability. Manual augers don’t have many moving parts and their build isn’t complicated, so you have fewer things to worry about. One of the biggest disadvantages is that you have to do all the work yourself, so making lots of holes can be a bit exhausting. There are many other details that you need to keep in mind when making holes on ice fishing trip. For example, some species of fish require you to make large holes, while others don’t. It’s important to know what kind of fish you want to catch, so that you can decide what kind of hole to make. If you’re aiming for larger fish, you should make holes that are at least eight inches wide, of course.
There’s also issue of auger blades. Most hand augers allow you to replace blades, so rusting and losing sharpness aren’t really huge problems. You should have few blades with you always, just in case something goes wrong. Most experienced ice fishing enthusiasts have at least one extra pair of blades with them at all times. Auger as a tool is too crucial to allow room for mistakes. You don’t want to take any chances. Sharp blades also decrease the effort required to make a hole. Long story short, making sure that your blades are sharp and well-maintained definitely pays off on all fronts. Replacement blades aren’t expensive, especially compared to gas powered augers. I believe you can also sharpen them yourself, but i prefer to leave that task to professionals who know what they’re doing. I don’t use manual auger myself, but i have friends who do, and they get extra blades from Amazon for rather cheap price.
It is also important to pay attention to clothing. Especially, if you’re going to be making holes yourself. This is physically demanding task that will probably make you sweat, and when you’re sweating, the last thing you want is to expose yourself to cold in that condition. That almost always guarantees nasty case of cold. So it’s important to get yourself waterproof jacket, good ice fishing bib and water resistant boots. All of these will cost you probably around three hundred dollars, but once you’ve bought them, you’ll be safe from any change in weather. Make sure every piece of clothing you get is made of moisture-wicking material. I like Frabill brand myself. I’ve owned their bibs, gloves and boots for decades now, and they have never disappointed me. I’ve tried few brands since and before trying them, but none have come close to resembling the kind of comfort that Frabill clothes offer me. They do cost a little bit more than usual, but considering the quality of the products, premium price is worth paying.
Last, but definitely not least, is making sure that you are physically prepared for the task. Drilling lots of holes using your hand is harder than it may look. Make sure you have a good stance when drilling holes. There are few videos on YouTube that explain this, if you’re in doubt, i’d recommend watching them. If all this is too complicated for you, getting gas or battery powered auger is always an option. Granted, it is much more expensive, but some people find pleasure of effortless drilling to be worth the money. It depends on individual, i guess. It also depends on your character. Are you the kind of person who likes to drill lots of holes frequently? If yes, then investing in good automatic auger might not be such a bad idea. I found this ice-fishing-gear.com auger review to be helpful in choosing electric and regular augers. If you think about it, the time you spend making holes using your own power could be worth much more than few hundred dollars that gas powered augers cost. Most important thing to remember, though, is to always check if ice is thick enough. As winter gives way to spring, some lakes may look like they’re safe to walk on, but may not actually be. No matter what, safety should be your number one concern.