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Must-have ice gear: Clam Ice Chair

The folding Clam Chair converts to a gear bag with rod storage.

Spending as much time as I do ice fishing—some winters I am on the ice as many as 60 or 75 days—you learn a thing or two about what works and what doesn’t.

And I have to confess that for me, at least, sitting on a plastic pail doesn’t cut it. Fact of the matter is, by the end of the day, my back is usually throbbing. Do that five days in a row and, well, you get the message.

Another thing: I have an entire room in the basement dedicated to storing my ice fishing equipment—snowmachine helmets, clothing, sonar units, hub shelters, heaters, skimmers, ice rods and reels, tip ups, tackle—and I keep everything arranged by species. So there is a section dedicated to lake trout, another to walleye, whitefish, crappies, perch and so on.

Arranged this way, I can drive the truck up the driveway, park alongside the basement door and grab everything efficiently and effectively for a quick getaway for whatever species I am targeting that day. I also have a checklist pinned to the wall beside the basement door—to make sure I don’t leave anything behind—that is the last thing I consult before heading off for the day.  (More about that at a future date.)

The folding Clam Chair converts to a gear bag with rod storage.
The folding Clam Chair converts to a gear bag with rod storage.

Still, no matter how you cut it, packing up and getting ready to go ice fishing can be a chore. These days, however, that task has been made a lot easier, thanks to the Clam Ice Chair, the brainchild of ice fishing guru Dave Genz.

Calling it a “chair”, however, is a huge understatement because it’s so many other things as well.

Indeed, weighing in at a measly 12-pounds, it is light enough that you can easily put your arms through the padded shoulder straps and carry in on your back. I have to confess, I’ve yet to do that, because I normally pull a small hand sleigh when I am walking and ice fishing on a small lake at first and last ice. Or, I pin a much bigger and deeper covered toboggan to the back of my snowmachine or ATV and drop the chair inside it.

What I especially like about the Clam Chair, however, is that running the full length of it is a reinforced plastic rod storage section, not unlike the rod locker in your boat, into which you can slide six fully rigged ice rods and reels. This means you can get the rod rigging job out of the way the night before you go ice fishing, so that when you finally get to the spot and drill your holes, you can slide the rods out of the holder and start fishing immediately.

The Chair stores and protects six ice combos, with long accessory compartments for tip-ups. And it's comfy.
The Chair stores and protects six ice combos, with long accessory compartments for tip-ups. And it’s comfy.

Ditto, if you also use tip-ups, because there is a long accessory compartment down each side of the chair into which you can store your set line rigs and zipper them up securely.

Plus, there is a ton of zippered storage space for your ice fishing tackle boxes, spare spools of line, soft plastic baits, tools and lunch.  As well as wraps on the outside to secure things like your ice skimmer.

It is clear to see that the folks, like Genz and Chiodo, who designed the Clam Chair, spend enough time ice fishing to know what is really needed.

And oh, jeepers, I almost forgot—once you’re at your fishing spot, you simply undo two long zippers on the pack and voila, it is a padded seat with a sturdy back rest  on which you can sit, fish and block out the wind if you’re not inside a shelter.

There is even a large bag attached to the underside of the seat, so that when you catch a fish, you can just open your legs and slide it into it for safe keeping.  When you get home at night, simply snap off the bag and carry the fish into the house without any mess or fuss.

Like I said, the folks at Clam who thought this one up, knew what was needed. Then they designed and delivered the goods.

Gord Pyzer

Gord Pyzer

Fishing Editor Gord Pyzer is widely regarded as Canada's most scientific angler. Known in fishing circles as Doctor Pyzer, he worked for 30 years as a senior manager with Ontario's Ministry of Natural Resources before devoting all his energies to fishing. A member of the Canadian Angler Hall of Fame, the award-winning writer is also an internationally sought out speaker, tournament angler and field editor with In-Fisherman Magazine and Television. As well, he co-hosts the Real Fishing Radio Show with Bob Izumi. Catch Gord on the Outdoor Journal Radio Show live every Saturday morning 8:05AM EST. If you're in southern Ontario, tune your radio to Sportsnet 590 The FAN AM or visit www.fan590.com and listen live online.