Tuesday, January 1, 2008

The CLAM 5600 Ice Fishing Shelter

Product Review by Mike Bell , PSP Field Staff
Clam 5600 Ice Shelter

379.95 Online.  This item may be better bought at a local sporting goods store as the weight greatly increases shipping costs

Product features
2 extra wide doors with two way zippers
4 clear vinyl windows with covers
2 mesh side vent windows
2 large storage pockets
4 holes in floor with covers (cutouts for 2 double holes and 2 single holes)
4 2”X6” corner safety reflectors

Specs include
5’X6’ floor size
6’6” center height
Pack size 60”X 32”X9”
76 lbs
Designed to fit 2-3 people
Clam 5600 Ice Fishing Shelter

Personal Assessment of product
I started ice fishing when I was in high school (1992).  My equipment included a pair of hunting coveralls, half of a 2 piece fishing pole, a hand auger, a collection of small jigs and molded ants, and a ladle from our kitchen.  After the first couple of trips on the ice, I decided if I wanted to enjoy doing this, I needed an ice fishing shelter, and a way to keep warm and out of the wind.  My first shanty came the following winter, and I was amazed at the setup and how warm I was when inside out of the wind.  This was a two man shelter; but was quite small for me and whoever I was going fishing with at the time.  Though it was a definite upgrade, and came in useful for several years, I decided my knees couldn’t take anymore sitting crouched up on a bucket for hours on end.  I am 6’3” and have the “bigger is better” mentality when it comes to comfort.  After looking at many ice fishing shelters, I decided I would purchase the Clam 5600.  This shelter is amazing to fish out of.  I use two fold up camp style chairs and have plenty of leg and arm room when fishing with a buddy.  The set up is fast and easy using a tubular frame (I can set up mine in less than 2 minutes).  The positives of this shanty are the room, the quality construction, collapsible for easy storage, the easy setup, and the double insulated floor which I believe keeps the inside warmer and more wind tight.  When going out, I usually stuff all my equipment including a hand auger, collapsible lantern, small tackle carrier, folding chairs, ice scoop, and rods into the shanty.  All this leaves me to carry is a heater if I even take it out.  I love the fact that I don’t have to carry anything when heading to and from the area I’m going to fish.
Clam 5600 Ice Fishing Shelter

Product Limitations
All ice fishing shelters have pros and cons.  What is perfect for one might not be a viable option for another.  There are two major types of fishing shanties on the market:  The cabin style (Clam 5600) or the flip up style (fish trap Yukon).   The flip up shanties can be fished several different ways.  They can be fished open with seat out, ½ up (for a wind block and ease running to tip ups), or completely closed where as the cabin style 5600 can only be fished 1 way.   The largest limitation I’ve experienced with the Clam 5600 is the sled doesn’t pull particularly well.  To get into my favorite fishing spot on the ice, I have to walk down a fairly steep 100 yard gas line to reach the lake then another 200-300 yards across the ice.  Coming into that spot isn’t bad, but when heading back that sled gives me all I want to pull going up the hill.  Also, when fishing by myself, the Clam with all my equipment packed into it, can be a challenge to lift into the bed of my pickup truck.  Though I have never experienced it, the height of the 5600 can catch a strong wind and possibly blow over or be tossed around when fishing alone.  The final limitation I can think of is the cost.  Though the price tag on this product is a little on the high end, but you get what you pay for in quality and engineering.

My ice fishing trips usually include fishing one or two sets an outing for panfish.  For the fisherman who wants comfort, and room along with a quality long lasting build, I would definitely recommend the Clam 5600.  If you are a fisherman who fishes multiple sets, as well as tipups, there is probably a lighter more convenient design out there for you.  In my opinion, this shanty is a little much for 1 person even though I do use it when fishing alone.  My Clam 5600 has served me well for several years and will do so for many more.  If you are looking for a quality Ice fishing shanty, take a hard look at the Clam/Fish Trap shelters.  Check out both the flip up style as well as the cabin style and see which model suits your personal needs the best.

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