In the age of YouTube, ice fishing channels have boomed in popularity and plenty of stars have been born. For fishing vlog owners, it’s a prime opportunity to market innovative new gear.
One notable testament to this trend is Frostbite Co. Created by YouTube anglers, Alex Peric and Aaron Wiebe, Frostbite ice fishing gear has catapulted in popularity. Their full lineup includes a wide selection of custom designed ice fishing rods, tackle and some clothing merchandise.
The biggest question I hear from my fellow anglers is whether or not the Frostbite rods are worth buying. That’s why we decided to try out a couple Frostbite ice fishing rods and put them through the paces.
We are going to give our honest review of everything from our buying experience to testing the rod on the ice. You’ll get to see what we like, and don’t like, so you can make an informed decision. Keep reading for the full scoop.
The Frostbite ice fishing rod we chose
Two tiers of Frostbite ice fishing rods are available. The Twilight series and the Vantablack series (Updated from the Burnt 2.0 and Medallion series). Their Vantablack lineup offers higher end features like large, titanium recoil guides that reduce freeze up and a full, premium cork handle with a black handle hugger for a completely custom feel.
The Twilight series boasts superb quality rod blanks that appear to be the same as the Vantablack rods minus the titanium guides. Although, Twilight rod blanks are a gray color and the Vantablack rods are well, black. The cork handle on Twilight rods also has an integrated reel seat for tape-free reel attachment. For some avid ice anglers, the full cork handle and recoil guides are a must which justifies the higher price for the Vantablack series.
When we first tested out Frostbite rods, we got the Frostbite Burnt 2.0 series ice rods. Specifically, the Royal Flush 36” L.
This time around, we went for the 39” ML, fiberglass Drench in the updated Twilight series. The Twilight series will appeal to many ice anglers just starting out or who want a custom style rod without the custom price.
In our opinion, the 36” L Royal Flush was one of the most versatile rods Frostbite offered. However, after trying the Drench, we aren’t so sure of that any more. The 39” Drench is a well rounded rod on the ice. It’s ideal for trout, panfish and even light tackle techniques for walleye and bass. For us, the design and length make the Drench a great JawJacker rod. Want to see how to create the ultimate JawJacker setup with the Drench? Then check out our complete guide before you leave.
The Drench pairs awesomely with the Frostbite Diesel 1000 spinning reel and you can see our full review of it on our spinning reel comparison guide.
When it comes to price, Frostbite ice rods have the advantage over the competition. One of the reasons we decided to buy from Frostbite was because trying to find quality craftsmanship at big box stores is nearly impossible and the price of a true custom ice rod is a bit steep. Frostbite nestled themselves in the middle quite nicely.
The Twilight series rods are at the same price point as a few popular, entry level rods that are available at BassPro or Scheels. However, the thoughtful upgrades included on Frostbite’s Twilight rods make a huge difference in fishability.
Most models of the Twilight ice rods cost around $60. And honestly, at that price, you get your money’s worth. Pair it with a decent reel and for less than a $100 you have a top notch setup. Not something I can say for other manufacturers.
Once you jump up to the Vantablack series, prices hover around $120 for the most popular rods. The addition of titanium recoil guides and a full cork handle doubles the price but it’s still slightly cheaper than other premium rods.
Frostbite rods are not truly custom like Thorne Bro’s or Tuned Up Custom Rods. With those companies you can customize handles, rod length and add custom color wraps. Yet, the emphasis Frostbite put into addressing the needs of anglers is still apparent. Therefore, you get the custom feel at a price much lower than others.
Our purchasing experience
There are always a few kinks to iron out with any new company so if you are an early adopter like us, you may suffer a few issues. The first year Frostbite rods started selling we purchased a couple of the Burnt rods. Over a year later, they have certainly stream lined their processes. Take a look at how our first and second buying experiences compared.
The first time buying experience
The first time we purchased ice rods from Frostbite over a year ago, the buying and shipping experience was subpar. Their rods seemed to be out of stock most of the time and once they were in stock, there was a chance your order would get lost in the shuffle. As ours did.
After finally seeing the Burnt 2.0 Royal Flush back in stock, I had quickly purchased two of them and was promised delivery within 15 days. When 3 weeks passed with no shipping notice I started to get nervous as ice fishing season was approaching fast. I sent an inquiring email and was told they were out of stock before my order was fulfilled.
Another 2 weeks went by and still nothing. I sent one more email and was reassured that the rods would be sent within a few days and arrive shortly thereafter. We finally received the rods a full 6 weeks after paying for them.
The packaging was not very well done and there was extensive damage to it. How much of this was due to Frostbite versus the shipping company is hard to say. Either way, how a company packages their items ultimately falls on them.
Each rod was placed in a plastic sleeve and shipped individually in a stiff cardboard tube. However, the ends were sealed using only a single piece of packing tape that left a wide gap were the rod could have slipped out. By some miracle, neither rod appeared damaged after close inspection.
Our most recent buying experience
It’s been two years since that first purchase and a lot has improved with the buying experience. The Frostbite website and purchasing setup is simple and easy to navigate. Rods seem to be in stock more regularly and automatic emails update you with order status and shipping as expected.
The shipping and packaging woes suffered on our first order were completely gone on this purchase. First of all, date-of-order to date-of-delivery was less than a week. Also, Frostbite vastly improved their packaging. Instead of a thin cardboard tube, each rod comes delivered in a stout triangle shaped cardboard package that was well taped and much more resistant to crushing or bending.
In addition, the rod was protected in a plastic sleeve and the tip of the rod was protected with the thoughtful addition of a foam cylinder. All in all, this rods was shipped much more thoughtfully. Kudos to Frostbite for the vast improvement in the operation. We are much more confident in buying rods from them now.
As a nod to Frostbite, their customer service is excellent. When emailing them during our first purchase, they promptly answered my questions and kept me in the loop regarding my order. They were even nice enough to provide free expedited shipping due to the inconvenience and delays we experienced.
Our first impressions on the Burnt 2.0 rods we purchased over a year ago were mostly positive. With Frostbite’s Twilight series, almost every issue we had with the earlier design has been remedied.
Here’s what we thought at first glance:
- Rod blank: The Drench 39” ML blank has excellent flexibility and sensitivity in the tip and a surprisingly firm backbone deep in the base. The fiberglass quality is top notch and looked to be free from defects.
- Guides: The guide material on the Twilight rods looks to be the same as it was on the Burnt series rods. It is nothing special but we love that they are oversized to reduce freeze up.
- Reel seat and handle: On the Burnt rods, the reel seats and cork were rough around the edges. It felt a bit on the cheap side and when we first attached a reel, the fit was overly snug leaving the top portion of the seat off-center. The updated Twilight rods vastly improve the reel seat. They are much cleaner and fit standard reels much better. Nice job Frostbite! You can also add some longevity to the cork by sealing it with U-40 cork seal.
- Butt job: The new Twilight rods, with their updated reel seats, have the added option to swap out the butt of the handle. You buy it separately but the idea is that you can increase or decrease the handle length to suit your needs. It’s a nice option but the handle as-is is a good length on the Drench. For other rods, customizing the butt may be a more appealing option.
- Hook keeper: Not all ice rods come with a way to secure your hook when not in use so we appreciate the addition of a hook keeper on the blank.
- Overall build: The build quality and detailing on the rod are good but could be better. On close inspection, some of the guide wrappings and epoxy coating are sloppy and sparse. Really, it is a trivial nitpick that likely won’t affect the function but something to think about if you want top quality. In the end though, we think anyone buying a mid-level custom style rod will be pleased with the Twilight series rods.
On the ice review
A fair and honest review of any fishing rod requires on-the-ice testing. We toured several of our favorite ice fishing destinations to put our Frostbite rods through the paces.
What we like about the Frostbite Twilight Drench ice rod:
- Rod length: 39” really is a sweet spot for an ice fishing rod. It is compact enough to sit tight to the hole and when the bite turned on we could bounce from hole to hole quickly while standing.
- Sensitivity: We tested this rod out on a tough perch bite in 30 feet of water. These perch were barely kissing the bait and even without a spring bobber we could detect all but the softest nibbles. Once we added a titanium spring bobber, the Drench became one of the most sensitive rods I’ve ever held.
- Fish handling: We targeted large stocked trout, walleye, bass and panfish. None were too much for the medium light Drench to handle. Trout in the 22-24” range put a good bend in the rod but there was plenty of muscle left to steer them up the hole. It even tackles powerful smallmouth through the ice with ease.
- Hook setting: In deep water, getting a firm hook set isn’t always easy but Frostbite rods are well balanced. The sensitive tip is fully backed by enough backbone to drive the hook home.
- Jigging: The fiberglass blank almost fishes like a graphite rod. Unlike other noodle rods I’ve used, the Drench sits somewhere in the middle. It can handle moderate jigging with decent control of lure weights up to 1/6 or 1/4 ounces without much of a problem. At the same time, this rod was able to deliver delicate presentations with 1/32 tungsten jigs to finicky trout and double as a limber deadstick.
- Use in a JawJacker: The Drench pairs perfectly with the JawJacker. If that is your aim, it will serve you well. It has enough flex to get a deep bend and enough whip to get a deep hook set.
- Big guides: We absolutely love the big guides they tie into Frostbite Twilight series rods. Even when the temperature dipped into the teens, ice build up was minimal and easy to remove. I image the titanium recoil guides on the Vantablack version are even better.
- Light weight and balanced: This rod feels good in the hand. It’s light weight which reduces fatigue from jigging all day yet the handle has enough size to be easily held with gloves.
- Logo and detailing: I’m not much of a brand person so I do like the low key logo design. The Frostbite logo and Drench stamp on the handle actually adds some nice appeal to the rod without being obnoxious. Other detailing on the blank and handle are tastefully done to add some class.
What we don’t like about the Frostbite Twilight Drench ice rod:
- Nothing: I know it sounds biased. How could there be nothing we don’t like, right? Well, aside from the slight build imperfections that are easily overlooked, there really isn’t anything to harp on about this rod. Frostbite has done an awesome job of keeping all the good features from their first lineup of rods and improving all the things we didn’t like. They improved the reel seat and handle and the rod color and detailing is great. Our Twilight Drench handled everything we could throw at it on the ice without fail. It was a pleasure to catch fish with and has the versatility that makes it a contender among the other custom rods I have used.
Improvements to make it better
In all fairness, there was very little we disliked about this rod as we just laid out above. Even so, it would only take minimal tweaking to get Frostbite Twilight rods from “great” to “awesome.”
For starters, quality control on the guide wraps and epoxy coating on the wrap could be better. Take a look at what we mean below.
Again, this is minor and really the functionality is not hindered. But just the same, sloppiness is a slippery slope and balancing quality for quantity is a tough rope to walk.
Our first review of Frostbite gave them a low score on their logistics. Everything from ordering to the shipping was subpar. But now that seems to be fully resolved and improved upon. Combine that with improved packaging and their great customer service and more anglers are sure to see Frostbite rods as a serious competitor on the market.
Are Frostbite ice fishing rods worth it
So, at the end of the day are Frostbite ice fishing rods worth the money?
We think so. The Twilight 39” Drench was a fun rod to ice fish with and it performed well in every situation we threw at it. Frostbite rods contain quality material that’s put together with great craftsmanship. Frostbite Twilight series rods occupy a unique niche. They have a custom lineup with rods designed for true ice fishing situations that everyday anglers can appreciate. Plus, they are still a bargain for $60.
Just keep in mind that purchasing a rod from Frostbite might require some patience during peak season. Plan ahead and make your purchase well in advance of ice fishing season. All Twilight and Burnt rods come with a 30 day warranty that covers any dealer faults. Vantablack and Medallion rods extend that warranty to 1 year.
For those that don’t want a Frostbite ice rod, check out our review of 9 other ice fishing rods that are worth buying as well.
Frostbite Co ice rod comparison
If you have been following Frostbite for some time now, you know that their first line up of rods was the Burnt and Medallion series. A lot has changed since then with the introduction of the Twilight and Vantablack series of rods. They have added a more diverse set of fiberglass rods so take a look at their full line up below.
|Species / Use
|Rod Blank Material
|Panfish / sight fishing
|Panfish / noodle rod
|Walleye, stocked Trout, Perch and Bass / light jigging and bait
|Walleye, mid-size Lake Trout, Pike and Bass
|Panfish, stocked Trout, Walleye and Bass / finesse jigging
|Walleye, Perch, stocked Trout and Bass / medium weight jigging
|Walleye, mid-size Lake Trout, Pike and Bass / larger jigs and bait
|Walleye, Trout, Panfish and Bass / finnese jigging and deadstick
|Walleye, large Panfish, mid-size Lake Trout, Pike and Bass / Jaw Jacker, deadstick, jigging larger baits
|Walleye, jigging, deadstick, JawJacker, all around multi species
|Heavy walleye jigging, lake trout, deadstick, JawJacker
|Lake trout, pike, big game species
|Lake Trout, trophy Walleye and Pike / jigging
|Light tackle lake trout, deadstick pike, big game species (catfish, sturgeon)
|trophy Lake Trout and Pike / quick strike rigs or large jigging baits, big game species (catfish, sturgeon)
|Run & Gun
|Walleye, Lake Trout, Pike and Bass / hole hopping, jigging medium sized baits
FishingDuo.com is not sponsored or endorsed by Frostbite USA. We do not receive any affiliate payment. Our review of Frostbite ice fishing rods is entirely our own opinion based upon in-the-field testing and is not influenced by monetary gain.
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