Fequently Asked Questions

Find Answers about Innovative Tip-Down

What is a Tip-Down?

Many people are just starting to get turned on to tip-down fishing and the advantages of using a light set-up for perch and crappie fishing.

Innovative Tip-Downs operate by weight balancing. The upper inner tube supports the rod in a 45 degree upward angle. When a fish takes the bait, the rod simply tips down straight towards the hole. With our Innovative Tip-Downs, the fish can also take out line. When the rod is down, the fish has the bait. Once you set the hook, the fish is retrieved in a hand-over-hand fashion. Such a technique offers zero resistance to the fish and lets you know precisely when the fish has the bait.

Unlike conventional tip-ups, tip-downs produce more fish simply because there is no resistance when a fish grabs the bait. They simply tip down as opposed to tripping a flag first. Such force required in firing a mechanism that trips the flag will often cause a fish to drop the bait.

In addition, tip-downs also offer many other advantages to catching finicky fish:

  • They use light line. Most tip-ups are backed with heavy dacron line. Tip-downs are used with all monofilament. No drag from heavy line.
  • A tip-down only stays tipped down if the fish has the bait. If the fish lets go then the tip-down tips back up into its upright position. This is highly beneficial when fish are finicky. Often, they will grab it and drop it a couple of times before finally taking it down for good. You can stand right there and know what is going on down the hole just by watching your tip-down.
  • Wider variety of fishing options. Tip-ups just do not produce fish such as crappies and perch like a tip-down will. These types of fish just do not like resistance. Fish just seem to be able to sense the heaviness of a tip-up. Tip-downs offer zero resistance and are light from top to bottom.
  • More and more people use tip-downs every year and the reason why is simple - they produce more fish and open a larger window of fishing options for fish species that are normally almost impossible to catch on tip-ups.

Why Innovative Tip-Downs?

We thought of everything when it comes to building a professional tip-down system. Innovative Tip-Downs were built for ease of use and flexibility not found in traditional homemade tip-downs. You would never be able to build your own tip-downs with the features you will find on an Innovative Tip-Down without spending a fortune.

Allow us to give you an in-depth overview of the features of our Innovative Tip-Downs.

  • 36" extendable inner tube for setting your tip-downs as high as possible for the most visibility and ease of use while allowing you to lower the inner tube on windier days.
  • Each tip-down sits on a 4-legged base keeping it up off the ice to prevent freezing. The leg stand also screws into the bottom of the tip-down. One solid piece = easy to move and adjust.
  • Heavy action rod for assistance in setting the hook.
  • Reel has a handle for easy bait retrieval.
  • Features two rod guides for keeping the line straight in use and while retrieving.
  • Hollow rod end with cap to add weight balancing for larger baits or use in deeper waters where heavier weights are desired.
  • Nylon loop for easily extending the rod base when setting up.
  • The entire system can be disassembled without removing your gloves or getting your hands wet.
  • Innovative Tip-Downs fold up in to a solid tube that is 24" long and 2" in diameter for easy storing and carrying.

What is the Best Line to Use on an Innovative Tip-Down?

Tip-Downs work best with line sizes of 6lb test or less with 4lb test being ideal. You want a professional grade monofilament line with low memory. Berkley Micro-Ice is an excellent choice but there are also various other brand name lines out there that will work. The key factor is choosing a line with low memory. You want a line that will go down straight and fast and remain straight.

How Much Line Will Fit on an Innovative Tip-Down?

Using 4lb. test line, you can fit roughly 100 feet of line on an Innovative Tip-Down.

Using Innovative Tip-Downs with Large Minnows or Heavier Weights

There may be times when you have to make adjustments to your rod balance. You may want to use larger minnows or you may be fishing in deep water where a heavier sinker is preferred. The more weight you add to the bottom of the line, the more easily the tip-down will tip-over, which may cause false alarms.

We have created a simple solution to this problem. On the back-end of your tip-down rod is a plastic cap that easily pulls off. The cap covers a hollow tube where you can add weight.

Simply remove the cap, pop a couple of split shot sinkers in to the hollow tube, and slide the plastic cap back on to the rod. This will increase the weight on the back-end of your rod and make it possible to use heavier set-ups with the tip-down still tipping over with the same ease as a rod that is not weighted.

Try one or two sinkers at a time. Add as many as you like until the rod balances properly. The hollow tube is 1 1/4" long and 1/2" in diameter making it capable of handling large weights including small bell and slip sinkers.

Please also note that this little compartment is a great place to keep your hooks and sinkers to avoid unnecessary trips back to the shanty.

Preventing Innovative Tip-Down Spool Backlash

With any free flowing spool system, there is always the risk of backlash. While Innovative Tip-Downs come with high quality manufacturing features to prevent spool backlash, it can still occur. Preventing backlash on your tip-down is easy if you take a little bit of care in how you set and reel in your tip-down system.

Take a look at the image to the right. Just forward of the spool you will see an orange plastic prong that comes off the spool and then sharply turns in. There is also another one of these prongs just under the one you can see and running in the opposite direction. This creates a notch that the line sits in to help guide it back on the spool.

Please also observe how close the edges of the spool sit to the rod frame. There is very little room for the line to slip between the spool and the rod frame.

That being said, backlashes can and do occur. The good news is they only occur because of one reason - you are not keeping your thumb on the spool  when you let line out. You do not want to rapidly start reeling out line when putting your tip-down down the hole. This will greatly increase your chances of backlash and you may need to take the spool off to fix the problem.

Please use the following procedures in letting out line and reeling in line to prevent backlash:

  1. Keep your thumb on the spool at all times. You can easily do this with gloves on.
  2. Take a look at the bottom picture to the right. It is possible to let line out of your tip-down by leaving it on the stand. However, we do not recommend it until you know your bait is nearing the bottom. Keep the rod in your hands and keep the pole as close to the hole as possible. Pull out line with your free hand while keeping tension on the spool until you know your bait is close to the bottom. At this time, you can put the rod back on the stand and make minor adjustments, again, with your thumb on the reel. When it comes down to inches, you can usually take your thumb off the spool at this time since you will not be winding it out wildly.
  3. When reeling in your tip-down, make sure that you have the spool in your hand in the proper position so the line will reel in. Do not turn it backwards.
  4. Keep light tension on the spool with your thumb as you reel your line up.

In the event that you have a backlash and you need to remove the Spool then please see Removing the Spool below.

Removing the Spool from an Innovative Tip-Down

In the event that you need to remove the spool from your tip-down you can do so by the following process.

Take a look at the picture to the right. You will see what appears to be a plastic bolt through the spool with a notch for a screwdriver head. This notch IS NOT for a screwdriver head. It is actually a gap in the plastic bolt so you can squeeze both sides together and push it out. The bolt is attached to the spool handle on the opposite side. It is all one piece.

Using your fingers or a small pair of needle-nose pliers, grip the sides of the bolt and pinch towards the gap while also pushing toward the handle side. This takes the oval bolt end and makes it round, which allows it to slide back through the spool.. The spool handle should then pop out on the opposite side with the bolt attached to it.

To put the spool back on, simply line it up with the hole in the reel and slide the handle back through. It will pinch together securely in place.