It’s ice fishing season, and if you’re planning to gather a couple of friends or family for the holiday season and go primal on a frozen lake or two — you’re on the lookout for the perfect tackle.
These days, ice fishing has evolved to become a trendy winter sport – but at its core, it is still the good ol’ game of rod and reel.
It’s always a good idea to do your research before investing in the tools that determine how delicious your lunch will be.
But even if you’re catching and releasing, there’s nothing like the thrill of an unexpected machine-gun-tugging on your rod once you realize you’ve caught a beast of a fish.
And you wouldn’t want to miss out on that experience on account of possessing a sub-standard rod that either snaps or doesn’t respond to little fish.
The Fenwick HMG Ice Fishing Spinning Rod has helped anglers with moderate experience up their game without having to splurge.
This review goes into the icy depths of what this rod can or can not do for you.
Table of Contents
Presenting the Fenwick HMG Ice Fishing Spinning Rod
- High modulus graphite blank
- Tapered construction with more moderate actions
- Black stainless steel guides with aluminum oxide inserts
- Custom designed handles made with premium AAA grade cork
- Twist lock reel seat
The Fenwick HMG Ice Fishing Spinning Rod is built with a quality high modulus graphite blank.
Graphite rods are far superior to fiberglass and carbon, and you can be sure your Fenwick rod will last considerably longer.
It’s far better quality than any other rod in this price range; most other graphite rods are priced higher. It’s designed to be quite sturdy but also tapers and provides the right amount of sensitivity.
It’s great for someone still new to the scene but looking to upgrade their rod to a more durable and reliable one.
There are certain issues with the lighter rods, so we recommend choosing the Medium or Medium Heavy, which has the best performance in terms of strength and sensitivity.
- 27” Medium rod (my favorite) is very sturdy and firm
- Moderate to fast action
- Medium Heavy rod has the power to catch 20+lbs fish.
- Better quality than any other rod in the price range
- Lightweight with a great hand-feel
- Light and Medium Light rods can be too flimsy and are prone to breakage.
- Light and Medium Light rods don’t have strong enough backbones.
- Stainless steel guides have been known to be crooked in some cases.
My Fenwick HMG Ice Fishing Spinning Rod Research
The Fenwick HMG Ice Fishing Spinning Rod looks and feels high-quality. You can tell they didn’t cut corners here.
The graphite rod is sleek and lightweight – but not as light as fiberglass and carbon rods.
The handle is made out of premium AAA grade cork; it’s comfortable and easy to grip. I especially like the black stainless steel guides that have aluminum oxide inserts.
It feels overall sturdy and secure: the backbone is solid while the tapering tip is pretty flexible.
Let’s first start off with the Medium rod, which is the highest performing rod of the lot. Fenwick HMG rods come in all variants from Ultralight, Light, Medium Light, Medium (27” and 30”), Medium Heavy (28” and 36”).
The Medium works perfectly because it has the best blend of strength and sensitivity. It’s sensitive enough to react to some tiny fish biting (small perch and crappie that fit in your hand) as well as strong enough for the 4pounders walleye and pike.
The Ultralight and Light are rather flimsy.
They’re so delicate that most people who order them online don’t receive them in one piece (although that’s more the shippers’ fault than manufacturers).
But they’re also prone to breakage when you catch a bigger fish than you intended (or used a low pound test line for your reel).
That’s why we recommend getting the Medium; it does all that you’d expect from the Ultralight and Light but without making you feel like you’re carrying around your mom’s favorite porcelain vase.
The Medium Heavy can actually fight with serious big fish. It can catch 20+lbs Mackinaw (with the correct reel and line). All rods are moderate action, which is more than you need — with near-frozen fish moving in slow motion under the ice.
The quality of rod you get, the Fenwick HMG Spinning Rod, is entirely worth it. It is priced in the range of $20-30 depending on which rod you choose and which website you buy from.
You could also get a Spinning Combo in the same price range, which would be a rod and a pre-spooled reel: but you’ll definitely be compromising somewhere.
Most of the time, in such combos, you get a decent rod but a sub-standard reel. The advantage of buying them separately is that you can choose where you want to invest.
Things to consider before purchasing an ice fishing spinning rod
- Do you want a spinning reel or an inline reel? For beginners, we recommend the spinning reel as it’s cheaper, easier to use, and more versatile.
- What power rod do you choose? If you will be fishing for primarily small fish like perch or crappie all under 2lbs, you’ll need a light rod. If you want fish bigger than that, a Medium rod will be sturdy enough.
- Think about the reel you’re going to use. It should work well with the rod, and have the right attachments. If you have a higher-end reel, you don’t waste its power on a sub-standard rod.
Alternate Spinning Rods
1. Abu Garcia Veritas Ice Fishing Spinning Rod
If you’re bent upon getting a Light or Medium Light rod, and you’re disappointed that I said the Fenwick ones are too flimsy — this is a great alternative.
The Abu Garcia Veritas Light and Medium Light rods are sturdier, but the handles are split-grip EVA foam rather than cork.
However, it’s not as fast action as the Fenwick and doesn’t seem to hold up for long periods in ice-cold weather (you might need to keep warming it up, so it doesn’t snap).
The Tickle Stick is a high-end spinning rod specializing in Ultralight, Light, and Medium Light with different lengths.
It’s nearly triple the Fenwick HMG price, but it might be the sturdiest Light rod out there. One of its cool features is Parallel Composite Construction, which means it’s made with linear fibers that result in a flat tip (helps with hook-sets).
It’s recommended that you purchase the 27” variants so that the handle is more comfortable and the backbone is more robust.
Fenwick hmg spinning rod My Final Words
The Fenwick HMG Spinning Rod is perfect for someone wanting to upgrade to a mid-range rod.
It could be great for a beginner if they’re going to skip using fiberglass or carbon.
The Medium and Medium Heavy Fenwick rods are all you need to catch a variety of fish.