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Gear Reviews, Ice Fishing

Gear Review: Cabela’s Inferno Boots

I’ve been rocking some solid new kicks this ice fishing season. These boots are comfortable, warm and (so far) very waterproof. The flat black color matches my shanty and my Carhartts adding some much needed style to my wardrobe.

Cabela's Inferno Boots hard at work

These bad mofo’s simply go by the name “Inferno”. There really isn’t a more suitable title. Cabela’s packs these boots with 2,000 grams of insulation. The waterproof layers ensure your feet stay dry amplifying the furnace-like qualities of the soft padded lining. The soles are outfitted with a tread that resembles 40″ mud tires. Last week I trekked 3 miles in one morning in search of walleye. I didn’t find any fish but my feet, knees and back felt pretty good thanks to the stability from these solid pac boots.

This past weekend I put these boots through the ultimate cold test on Horsehead Lake near Mecosta, MI. The weatherman was blabbing about some “Winter Cold Advisory” as I packed up my gear on Friday night. “Extremely cold temperatures expected this weekend….” something about frostbite warnings if skin is exposed for just over a few minutes. Whatever. Ice fishing is cold. It’s part of the fun. When one the quads wouldn’t start Friday night, because the oil in the engine had become frozen slush, I reconsidered my attitude.

Arctic Cat Loaded Down with the Gear

Saturday morning greeted us with snow, a high temp of  3 degrees and a biting north wind of 15-20 mph. We thawed out the bikes with a propane heater. We piled all of the gear onto a trailer. I followed Branden’s lead as we approached an access spot near the road. We eased onto the icy canal when a small amount of hell broke loose. Suddenly the trailer had one tire through the ice. John, who was riding on the trailer, was face down in some muddy snow struggling to get to his feet.

John quickly freed himself from the sticky swamp mud hidden beneath the ice. He was dripping wet. I literally watched his bibs and boots turn white and freeze solid as I jumped off the bike to help. Branden jumped off of his quad to assess the situation. Then he went through the ice. Thick black mud filled his boot in a foul smelling and foot-numbing combo of swamp and ice. Standing there, slowly freezing, we simultaneously became very aware that the ice we were all standing on could give way at any second.

Arctic Cat ATV out ice fishing

We unloaded the weight from the trailer and cautiously ventured back onto the frozen canal. I planted my feet to get the most traction possible, locked my hands onto that trailer and pulled up as hard as I could. My shoulders were screaming. My legs were shaking. The quad was ripping and trying to gain traction. Just when I thought we’d need to get our trucks to save that trailer, the tire rolled up out of the ice. Branden drove the machine out onto the lake to the crowd of onlooking anglers. I scrambled off the ice before celebrating my feat of manliness. I was a sweaty mess.

Ice Fishing Shanties on the lake

We got back to the house to let the guys get in some dry clothes. I never took those Inferno boots off for a second instead opting to dry out my buddies boots in the garage with a heat gun. A couple hours later we finally hit the ice. We were searching for Perch and Gills along a steep drop-off. We started off  in 9 feet of water, with close proximity to a depth of 30 feet, but didn’t mark any fish on the Vexilar. We moved the shanty over 20 feet of water and instantly found some small perch hugging the bottom. The glow ladybug from Ficious Jigs, tipped with a spike, caught the majority of the fish.

Pink Jig and baby Perch

As the sun went down, the temp dropped like a….well….like a trailer through the ice. We had been on the lake for about 5 hours and were patiently waiting for that sundown crappie bite the lake is known for. At this point, my sweaty socks started catching up with me. I put some footwarmers in the boots and was comfortable for another couple of hours. When I missed a single strike in one quick school of suspended fish we called it a night. When we got back to the house the thermometer read -9 degrees.

A great pair of boots for ice fishing

Click for a link to Cabelas.com

I’ve never had a pair of boots that could withstand the action and the extremes of day like that on the ice. They are honestly a pleasure to wear. Click on the nice looking product pic to get a look at them yourself on Cabelas.com.

Two quick disclaimers:

1. I did not receive these boots or any money from Cabela’s to write this review. I’m not affiliated with Cabela’s whatsoever. I’m just a huge fan of their products. I got these boots as a Christmas present from my family. I enjoy them so much I thought I’d let you know about them.

2. Don’t ever, ever, ever trust ice. Last weekend the ice was close to 1 foot thick yet we were lucky to escape what could have been a pretty bad situation. When you’re getting on the ice, don’t blaze a trail. Find the spot where other anglers accessed the water. Even if it seems really safe (guys had small pick-up trucks on the lake when we broke through) please be careful.

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