Here are five of the best ice fishing bibs for your money.
Once the ponds and lakes have frozen, it is imperative to seek out the areas that you want to fish that have the safest ice and the best conditions to set up on. The last thing that you want is to have a good bite, but suddenly realize that your comfort level has gone down the tubes.
A good pair of ice fishing bibs is only one piece of your ice fishing gear, but it is a very important piece of the puzzle. Just like gloves, boots, and the base layers that you wear underneath, the bibs that you choose are the last line of defense against the cold and wet conditions that naturally come with hard water angling.
As with any good gear, ice fishing bibs should at least have a few things in common. They should excel in comfort, have a good amount of stretch, and include a waterproof shell to stay protected. Let's look at a few brands that have these features included in their bibs, plus a few other things that might help you choose what's been deemed a rather essential ice fishing item.
Clam is certainly one of the first names in hard water gear and these bibs are some of the best and most comfortable to wear. Cabela's details say they have a "2-way front zipper with magnetic storm flap, fleece-lined handwarmer pockets, long 2-way leg zips with magnetic storm flaps, adjustable inseam system with storm gaiters, and adjustable nylon suspenders with quick-release clasps."
Maybe the best part is that they are built around a rugged 300 Denier waterproof and windproof shell that is breathable and reinforced with padded, 1,000 Denier ballistic nylon knee guards. By the way, they look great as well.
Eskimo's tough, durable, a windproof 600 Denier bibs come with fully taped seams for complete waterproof protection. They also have a breathable flotation assistance feature along with fleece-lined Sherpa insulation.
Users say that they fit great and have more than enough flexibility to move around in. They even allow you to bend low onto the ice, especially while sitting. They also come in larger sizes for big and tall men alike.
The StrikerIce Predator Series Bib has so many good features that it's hard to find a starting point. Sure, these cost a little more, but as Cabela's says, "This insulated fishing bib is perfectly adapted to conditions on the ice, with reinforced knees, ample gear storage, magnetic zip flap closures, fast-drain hem and cuffs, attachment loops, and infinitely adjustable leg cuffs."
They are waterproof, lightweight, and use the SureFloat insulation system that's made from a polyethylene foam and provides buoyancy for up to two hours when combined with the sister SureFloat jacket.
Frabill I3 Series
Frabill is another trusted name in fishing and ice anglers count on this brand for quality ice fishing gear. One great feature of these bibs is their vaunted YKK zipper vents for those days when the fishing is good, and the conditions are as well. This system allows the wearer to vent themselves to regulate their body temperature, since there are times when a fisherman needs to air-condition a little, especially when they're on the move a lot.
There's a ton of pockets for gear along with handwarmer linings make this a great setup for both long cold days, and those times when the bite is on and the temperatures are moderate. The Frabill I3 Series Bib even has a built-in self-rescue feature including ice pick holsters.
Striker Women's Ice Prism
Striker's Ice Prism bibs are a good choice for lady anglers who want a more custom fit and better ease of movement. While there's a lot to like about these bibs, they do have some small issues like a lack of hand warmer ready pockets, and a liner that is not removable.
On the bright side, they are quite warm, waterproof, have a great reinforced knee, and are simple to put on and take off. They also feature the Sureflote system for buoyancy in the event that the unthinkable happens.
As cold weather fishing goes, some of these items can be bought in combos since other obvious gear like a parka are sold separately. Certainly, for many serious ice anglers, floatation is a must have design in any good pair of bibs that you use as outerwear.
There are many styles and designs of ice fishing clothing and these are just a tip on the iceberg. Look for features like Thinsulate or Thermadex as insulating value, and a nice softshell outer layer for ease of movement when you start your search.
You will certainly want plenty of space for your hands in the pockets and more room for other obvious gear such a pliers or a multitool.
Ice fishing is what many of us live for, cold weather or not, and when you can stay warm and dry while doing it, all the better.