November 11, 2011
Your Best Friend
Never have power augers been so reliable and so efficient. The In-Fisherman staff puts them all through the paces each season, from the StrikeMasters we've used to shoot Ice Fishing Guide TV, to the stock of various Jiffy models the editorial team uses to shoot so much field photography. We also use Eskimos and we've had a pet Nils Master here that has hundreds of hours on it. Plus, we helped HT Enterprises field test their new lineup of Velocity Edge augers.
As is the case with sonar options, staff members could argue for hours about the various merits of augers from different companies. Overall, bottom line — you can't buy a bad auger these days. But you can buy something that fits your style and the way you fish. So we're noting select options from each company — including what's new — and then leaving it to you to do the rest of the comparative shopping. As we said, today you really can't go wrong — and if something does, each company has people ready to get you back into the field pronto.
As you'll see in this gear gallery, there's no shortage of auger options for you to consider. Good luck and choose well — if you're like us, you're going to spend a lot of quality time with one of your new best friends.
Eskimo augers are tough to beat for cutting power, speed, and durability. Their workhorse engine is the Shark 71cc auger with a 10-inch Quantum blade, billed as the most powerful auger in the ice industry. Three other auger options fill out the Eskimo line, including the Shark Z51, one of their top sellers.
New for 2012 is an aluminum handle bar on each Shark. The bar has rubber-coated grips set at 45 degrees, allowing ideal wrist motion when drilling. The throttle also is canted at 45 degrees for comfort and efficiency, allowing the auger to be pulled from the hole without accidentally revving the engine — geteskimo.com
Jiffy augers remain one of the most popular options on ice — dependable, durable, powerful. Back after a year on the market is the Pro 4, a 4-stroke auger that runs on propane. Attach a 1-pound canister and you're in action. A canister is said to be equal to about 3/4 of a tank of gas for a 2-stroke engine. New this season is the 4 G, a 4-stroke gas-powered auger. Both the Pro 4 and the 4 G have 49 CC engines and your choice of 8- or 10-inch drill assemblies with Stealth STX blades — jiffyonice.com
H.T. Enterprises offers hand drills with offset handles that cut fast, their high-end option being the Velocity Edge in 6- and 8-inch drills. A Power Ice Auger Adapter Shaft allows either drill assembly to couple with a portable electric power drill for power augering through lots of ice — icefish.com
Nils Master, with its Tanaka engine and blade assembly with extra long ramping is said by some to be the smoothest thing on ice. Ramping is the curved blading on the drill assembly, its purpose to funnel ice chips up and away as the auger turns. There are 4.5-, 6-, and 8-inch assembly options that also convert into a hand drill. A new custom-carrying bag is available for the augers, as well as an accessory bag for a cutting head, oil, and tools — nilsmaster.com
StrikeMaster Solo engines have proven powerful, fast, and dependable. Last season the 4-stroke Strike-Lite II was upgraded with a Signature Steel Drill assembly with 8-inch Lazer blades. The Strike-Lite is light (23 pounds) and quiet and the new blades keep the cutting head from icing up. New for this season is the Big Volt Electric, designed for cutting holes in wheel-houses. A new two-step blade rips through ice fast and allows reopening iced-up holes. The drill options are 8.25- and 10.25 inches. All the power augers also have new handles, consisting of VANDAR Long Filament High Impact Polyester Alloy for strength and durability — strikemaster.com