I've been through every tip up contraption known to man, and these are the ones I've settled on as my overall favorite. They are the ones I recommend without any hesitation to anybody who asks. To anybody new to the sport, who lives in a 5-trap state, $100 or so (plus line) may sound a bit steep, but trust me, you're only delaying the cost if you don't get them right up front. (I should add that this does depend on the what you're fishing for. If you're happy with perch or small trout on a small pond, these are overkill. You wouldn't regret having them in that scenario, but you could get by just fine with something less.)If however you're fishing ponds/lakes that hold fish larger than say 5 pounds, and/or you're using larger/lively shiners, or you like to spread you traps out at a good distance - these are the right tool for the job.They are significantly better than the usual smaller springsteel flag, weaker, wooden rigs. For several reasons:- They're easier to set up and take down than most similarly designed rigs. They stay straight and don't flop over constantly. Just set and forget.- They're strong enough to hold a good size fish should you ever run out of line.- They hold enough line so you should rarely run out of line.- The flag trip mechanism is sensitive, yet solid enough to avoid most wind flags/false alarms.- The simple wing-nut drag system is easy enough to set if you're using big live shiners, to keep them from tripping the flag- And last, but probably most important for me personally, you can easily see them from a good distance. There is no doubt when the flag is up, because it's straight up and unmistakable, even a few hundred feet away.Are they perfect? No. A few minor complaints I have: - I can't seem to find a good source for replacement parts. (maybe they're out there, I just haven't seen them yet).- The screw/stud that holds the spool should be a through-bolt instead of screwed into the wood. I have lost a spool or two by pulling the tipup up through an iced over hole - I knew at the time it wasn't the wisest move, but I was still surprised to see my spool fluttering down to the bottom - twice.- I hated when they changed from aluminum to plastic spools, but to be honest, I can't complain yet about the plastic not lasting. - The drag nut - I don't know exactly what I'd prefer, but it seems a spring or something - maybe even just a spring washer, just something to smooth out the drag and make it a little more reliable and easier to fine tune. It's not bad, but it seems that with a little effort it could be better.- Quality control seems to be slipping. It seems the newer units need a little hand tweaking to get the flag to trip properly, and some of the parts need to be tapped tighter with a hammer. That's a silly problem to have, and I hope they get their act together. If you have a good product, the worse thing you can do is stop caring whether or not it works!These tweaks are obvious and easy enough to do - so it shouldn't scare you away from buying these units.And last but not least - stay away from bass pro shops and the big stores that try to sell these things for $33 and up! You should be paying about $20.
Best Uses: none
Would you recommend this product? Yes