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 Frostbite ice fishing rod this season and put it 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 Medallion series and the Burnt 2.0 series. Their Medallion lineup offers higher end features like large, titanium recoil guides that reduce freeze up and a full, premium cork handle for a completely custom feel.
The Burnt 2.0 series boasts the same custom rod blanks as the Medallion rods minus the titanium guides. The cork handle on Burnt rods also have 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 Medallion series.
We decided to test out the Frostbite Burnt 2.0 series ice rods. Specifically, the Royal Flush 36” L. The Burnt series appeals 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 is one of the most versatile rods Frostbite offers. It’s ideal for trout, panfish and even light tackle techniques for walleye and bass. For us, the design is excellent for light jigging applications.
The Royal Flush pairs awesome with a Pflueger President spinning reel in size 20 or 25.
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 Burnt 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 Burnt rods make a huge difference in fishability.
Most models of the Burnt 2.0 ice rods cost about $45. And honestly, at that price you get your money’s worth. Not something I can say for other manufacturers.
Once you jump up to the Medallion series, prices hover around $90 for the most popular rods. The addition of titanium recoil guides and a full cork handle doubles the price but it’s still a far sight 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
Our biggest complaint against Frostbite Co involved our purchasing experience. Not only are these rods out of stock most of the time (they seem to fly off the shelf), once they are in stock there is a chance your order will get lost in the shuffle. As ours did.
After finally seeing the Burnt 2.0 Royal Flush back in stock, I 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 email to inquire 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.
Their website seemed to lag behind actual inventory and they have some work to do to manage large volume logistics. It was a little disappointing but keep in mind they are a young company.
Frostbite Co has the fortunate problem of being immensely popular so working out all the kinks may take a few more years. Our purchase experience may also be a one-off occurrence. Either way, be prepared for long lead times and consider buying in the off season when demand wanes.
As a nod to Frostbite, their customer service is excellent. When emailing, 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.
At long last, the rods arrived on our front porch. And first impressions were not good. 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. They should use a plastic cap instead of just tape. One tube even arrived crushed and torn near the middle with a rough tape job to repair it. Again, probably not Frostbite’s fault. Yet, they may need to adjust how they package rods if this is a common complaint.
By some miracle neither rod appeared damaged after close inspection. Now it was time to look at the build quality and test fit some reels.
Here’s what we thought at first glance:
- Rod blank: The Royal Flush 36” L blank has excellent flexibility and sensitivity in the tip and a firm backbone in the base. The graphite quality is top notch and looked to be free from defects.
- Guides: The guide material on the Burnt series rods is nothing special but we love that they are oversized to reduce freeze up.
- Reel seat and handle: At first glance, the reel seat and cork are rough around the edges. It feels 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. Depending on how you hold it, the plastic on the reel seat has some uncomfortable burrs on the edge but that is easily remedied using tape. You can also add some longevity to the cork by sealing it with U-40 cork seal.
- 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.
On the ice review
A fair and honest review of any fishing rod requires on-the-water testing. We toured several of our favorite ice fishing destinations to put the Frostbite Royal Flush through the paces.
What we like about the Frostbite Burnt 2.0 Royal Flush ice rod:
- Rod length: 36” 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 Royal Flush became on of the most sensitive rods I’ve ever held.
- Fish handling: We targeted large stocked trout, walleye and panfish. None were too much for the Royal Flush 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.
- 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 Royal Flush works well with light tackle applications. We could control lure action with weights up to 1/8 or 1/6 ounce without a problem. At the same time, this rod was able to deliver delicate presentations with 1/32 tungsten jigs to finicky trout.
- Big guides: We absolutely love the big guides they tie into Frostbite Burnt 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 Medallion version are even better.
- Light weight and balanced: This rod feels good in the hand. It’s light which reduces fatigue from jigging all day yet the handle has enough size to be easily held with gloves.
- Logo: I’m not much of a brand person so I do like the low key logo design. The Frostbite logo and Royal Flush stamp on the handle actually adds some nice appeal to the rod without being obnoxious.
What we don’t like about the Frostbite Burnt 2.0 Royal Flush ice rod:
- Reel seat: We don’t so much hate the reel seat but we certainly don’t love it. It just is not well refined and feels fragile. The components look low quality and the plastic is sharp on the edges. We also had a very difficult time making a small, standard spinning reel fit. Durability might be an issue after a couple seasons. It did however, hold the reel snuggly once in place and a layer of tape will clean up the rough appearance.
Improvements to make it better
In all fairness, there was very little we disliked about this rod. It would only take minimal tweaking to get Frostbite Burnt rods from “good” to “awesome.”
For starters, a reel seat redesign on the Burnt series rods is needed. Frostbite could even remove it all together and it might appeal to more anglers. I get that they are trying to attract novice anglers as well who may prefer a reel seat over tape. It’s just not a clean design though and it lessens the feel of the rod.
As a company, Frostbite is obviously growing but they really need to improve their logistics so anglers receive the products they pay for in a timely manner. Combine that with improved packaging and their great customer service and more anglers may see Frostbite rods as a serious competitor in the market.
Are Frostbite ice fishing rods worth it
So, at the end of the day are the Frostbite Burnt 2.0 ice fishing rods worth the money?
We think so. The Royal Flush 36” L 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 fine craftsmanship. Despite our misgivings with the reel seat, Frostbite Burnt series rods are a bargain for $45.
Just keep in mind that purchasing a rod from Frostbite might require some patience. Plan ahead and make your purchase well in advance of ice fishing season. All Burnt rods come with a 30 day warranty that covers any dealer faults. Medallion rods extend that warranty to 1 year.
Frostbite Co ice rod comparison
| Frostbite |
|Species / Use||Length (inches)||Power||Rod blank Material||Burnt 2.0 Price|| Medallion |
|Slight Bite||Panfish / sight fishing||19||Light||Graphite||$29.99||NA|
|Pantastick||Panfish / noodle rod||29||Ultra Light||Fiberglass||$39.99||$84.99|
|Meat Locker||Walleye, stocked Trout, Perch and |
Bass / light jigging and bait
|Slapshot||Walleye, mid-size Lake Trout, |
Pike and Bass
|Royal Flush||Panfish, stocked Trout, Walleye |
and Bass / finesse jigging
|Smokeshow||Walleye, Perch, stocked Trout |
and Bass / medium weight jigging
|True Grit||Walleye, mid-size Lake Trout, Pike |
and Bass / larger jigs and bait
|Dipstick||Walleye, Trout, Panfish and |
Bass / finnese jigging and deadstick
|Drench||Walleye, large Panfish, mid-size |
Lake Trout, Pike and Bass / Jaw Jacker,
deadstick, jigging larger baits
|Mister Big||Lake Trout, trophy Walleye |
and Pike / jigging
|Slugger||trophy Lake Trout and Pike / quick strike |
rigs or large jigging baits
|Run & Gun||Walleye, Lake Trout, Pike and |
Bass / hole hopping, jigging medium sized baits
FishingDuo.com is not sponsored or endorsed by Frostbite Co. 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.