This month’s topic is ice, the least talked about tool on any skiff. It has an obvious, yet important job on the skiff: keeping things cold. As a full time guide with over 200 days a year on the water, I go through large amounts of ice. Quick math: $3 a bag, times 200 days, equals $600. Purchasing ice is easy, convenient and readily available at most gas stations. But is the convenience worth the cost? Six hundred dollars per year is an expense that is easily avoided in just a few quick steps.
Instead of using ice consider these tips to help save money.
Reusable Ice Packs: There are multiple companies that sell reusable ice packs. These inexpensive ice packs are a great alternative to purchasing ice. It only takes a minute to throw the ice packs in the freezer and put them in the cooler the next morning before going fishing. At the end of the day clean them with hot, soapy water, and back in the freezer they go to be ready for the next fishing trip.
Freeze Water Bottles: Freezing water bottles is another alternative to purchasing ice. Frozen bottles don’t take up a lot of space and as they melt, the ice water can be consumed. Like ice packs, the bottles will need to be cleaned at the end of the day so you can refill and reuse them for your next trip. I have observed, though, that bottles that have been frozen do not last very long. The plastic is forced to expand when the water freezes and this tends to wear out the water bottle quickly.
D.I.B.Y.: Icon Coolers out of Wilmington, North Carolina makes a product called the D.I.B.Y., which stands for “Drop In Bin and You.” It is a perfect name, as it is a bin to be hung in the upper quarter portion of the cooler. The D.I.B.Y. has many uses. It can be a dry ice storage bin. (Dry ice is an alternative to regular ice, but is more expensive.) It can also be a dry storage tray for your cooler. But this article is about ice. The D.I.B.Y. can be used to make ice. Merely fill the D.I.B.Y with water and let freeze overnight. In the morning while loading the cooler, empty the ice block out of the D.I.B.Y. That’s cheap ice! Then dry the D.I.B.Y. after you take out the ice block so you can use it as a dry storage tray in the cooler. One more fun fact about this great product: the D.I.B.Y. lid can be used as a cutting board. The D.I.B.Y. retails for $59.99 and is a tool used on my skiff daily. Visit iconcoolers.com for more information.
Capt. Jonathan Moss
Go Castaway Fishing Charters