Reviewed by: CAPT. MIKE SCHOONVELD
Combo case! A case is something you can slide a single rod into. I have a case I keep my sunglasses in when I’m not wearing them. This should be called a trunk! It will hold 14 ice fishing rod and reel combos. More if you don’t mind doubling up some of the slots, packing them in around the edges or storing the rods and reels separately. Along with the rods, there’s plenty of room for other needed ice paraphernalia, either in the half-dozen 3600 StowAway boxes that come with the Ice Hunter or in separate containers. I’m sure my friend Doug who “sampled” the Combo Case for me will just keep stuffing in stuff until it takes two guys to lift it.
Full disclosure, most of the products I review in this column are ones I’ve personally used, abused and evaluated from a fisherman’s point of view. When I saw the Ice Hunter Combo Case at the ICAST show last summer I realized this would be a tough one, for me. For one, though I do own several ice fishing rod and reel combos, I don’t own 14 of them. I live on the extreme southern edge of the “ice belt” and when I feel the need to angle on a frozen lake, I head north and fish with someone like my friend Doug who probably owns 50 ice-rod combos. So I made arrangements for one of the Ice Hunter “trunks” to show up at Doug’s house.
Here’s his impression. “It’s great! I don’t have any other storage container that will hold this many rods, period – and it still has enough room for lots of other gear. It fits nicely on the quad I often use on day trips. I can safely cart enough gear for the whole day inside the box on the luggage carrier and tow my auger, portable shelter, tip-ups and other gear in a sled pulled behind. I can tell by the thickness of the material, it’s made of tough plastic. It doesn’t feel flimsy at all and the hinges, the four lock-shut tabs and handle are heavy and large enough to use, even while wearing gloves.”
Plano adds, the lid closes shut to create a watertight seal, all of the plastic used in the construction is cold-proof and won’t shatter in sub-zero conditions. The closed cell foam that secures the rods won’t absorb water and freeze solid. It also has external features molded in, like slots for tie down straps and padlock eyelets.
I won’t say this is a product every ice angler needs, but it’s certainly something many hardcore ice guys will put to good use. Available where ever Plano products are sold as well as Amazon.com and other online sources.