ION Ice Auger Review
So what does a high country fisherman do in the winter time when the high country is locked up
he ice fishes. Sorry its been a while since my last blog.
I found myself standing there looking at the auger rack at Sportsmans Warehouse, when the wife walked up to me and asked if they had the propane one I wanted. Explaining to her that I had ruled the propane auger out already based on the reviews I read online. This sparked her debate on gas leaking in the jeep and the jeep smelling like gas every time I go ice fishing. So I pointed to the ION and said what about electric? She simply said wow I like that idea even better. Being a little more expensive at $499.99 I was sold on the idea and picked it up.
Like most things electronic I skimmed over the manual really quickly to see if I had to charge the battery over night or anything like that with nothing standing out I threw the battery on the charger and charged it up for a trip to 11mile res. It takes two hours to charge.
Getting to 11mile at 4:30 am with a -30° walked out to the spot and fired the auger up and poked four holes for me and my buddy. At 40volts the 8 blades cut through the ice like butter. Much faster than any gas auger Ive used including my favorite the Lazer. The safety is on the handle you push it in and squeeze the trigger and it spins up and you are drilling. No trying to get the auger started, fighting the choke and gas. No sucking exhaust fumes while you drill. Was perfect or was it.
Having not actually read the manual I left the auger out in the cold and went to fishing like I would any gas auger. Like so many times on the ice it was time to move and we packed up and moved to a new location. Once there I hop on the auger to pop a few more holes but it will not start. A little frustrated I give up and we fire up my buddys gas auger and pop a few more holes. Temp outside still in the high -28° range.
Later in the day the temps had warmed up and I was able to use the auger again. Pretty upset about this first trial I went home kind of grumpy. Got on their website and found out they recommend keeping the battery warm in extreme temps taking it off and putting it in the hut should fix this issue. I also read that the battery should hold a charge for six months. Ok, no charging between this and my next trip.
This time we headed to Twin Lakes wanted to test the cold temp theory by keeping the battery in the hut but it was not needed with this weird Colorado winter temps were in the low 20s which the auger should be able to keep up with even if left outside. IMO.Time to see if the auger is still fully charged, I pulled it out and hit the battery tester on the battery three lights, nice the battery held its charge. I popped a few holes through 2ft of ice still cut quickly and quietly just like it did its first holes. Awesome. Fished most of the day popping a lot of holes looking for fish and the auger held up great.
As the day went on I was drilling another hole and half way through the auger just stopped. Hrmmm maybe I let up on the trigger a little I drill some more and it goes another 10 inches and stops. Hrmmm again. I start it again and it pokes through the ice. So I start the next hole and it keeps stopping. I check the battery tester and it lights 2 lights. Should still have plenty of charge, IMO. But the next half dozen holes I drill all have the same results the auger just stops as you are drilling it turns fine but when drilling it no longer can cut through the whole ice column doing it instead in spurts. Finally it would only turn two or three rotations and it would stop, hitting the battery tester only showed one light. Their website says it will do 40 holes through 24 of ice. I was not counting but between the two trips three weeks apart I probably came close to that number. The lights on the battery seem to me a little mis-leading at two lights I feel it should still be able to drill through 24 of ice no problem. But at two lights you still will make it through the ice, at one light its time to switch batteries. Which I recommend buying a backup battery for the auger.
Some additional things about the auger
Its lighter than most 8 gas/propane augers easy to carry one handed with no worries about spilling gas. You dont have to mix gas/oil or buy gas for your trips to the lake. Its quiet which kind of makes you miss that sound of an old jiffy cranking up in the morning but probably makes you stealthier or at least Id like to think. Anyone can start it I dont know how many gas augers Ive used that only the owner of the auger knows the trick to start it up. This one you just push the safety in squeeze the trigger and release the safety and you are drilling. Only maintenance is charging batteries and replacing blades no need to change plugs, clean carbs, etc. While I dont think the auger will work for everyone I would highly recommend it to people if they are in the market for a new auger.
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