VERNDALE -- Ice fishing continues to be redefined at the Black Hole Ice Shack plant in this small central Minnesota town, where partners Jason Geis and Brian Hagen are building on the business that started just a year ago.
The business started out not long after Geis went to work creating an ice house for his father. Using his skills he'd learned at Lund Boats in New York Mills and his passion for ice fishing, he created what's now become the Black Hole Ice Shack. It's a product proving to be attractive to the modern mobile ice angler. The Black Hole is a fishing platform that acts as a flip-over, fabric shelter, that's secured to a solid trailer foundation capable of getting you on the fish and hauling your UTV or ATV out as well.
That product has been doing very well. Hagen said in early December they've had about 40 shacks sold and bound for much of the Midwest and beyond. They're even planning to get some into the hands of Canadian residents soon. And while it's been a great product for rambling across a frozen lake, the business wanted to open up this creation for year-round use, so they developed a model for each season.
New to their lineup is a toy hauler tent. Using your Black Hole trailer as the foundation, you can switch out the winter shack for a light colored, light-weight fabric summer model. They are also offering a hunt/fish tent package which comes in full camo and oversized zip open windows for shooting bow or firearm from. Each can be used on the same trailer system. It just requires the user to switch out the fabric shell.
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Also new for the 2021 season, Black Hole introduced an upgraded trailer that they say is "overbuilt" to handle more weight and a tougher finish. If you don't care to bring out your old Lazy Boy on the ice the group now sells a lightweight removeable seat option that snaps into the trailer floor much like a boat chair. They've also added an option to increase the size of your shack.
You can even deck out your ice shack now thanks to add-ons from Quickclamp, a company the partners acquired. These accessories include a cup, rod holder, rattle reel, or other random holders you might need for a day or days on the hardwater. They've even joined the latest craze of the power box. A unit that powers all the accessories your ice shack can handle. Because fishing just ain't fishing without lights, music and enough juice to keep videos playing on your smartphone.
If you're looking for an even smaller option than the ice shack but just as portable, the group acquired another design they hope to unveil soon. It's the Black Hole Ice Box, a flip-over fish house that attaches to the back of your side-by-side. Anywhere you go with the side-by-side, the Ice Box goes too. It's a portable that won't blow away even in the most furious of winter storms. It's going to be something on many an ice angler's wish list.
Geis said he developed the Black Hole Ice Shack as a easier way to get his family out on the water with him. While it does the job, he now just has to find time to actually get out on the ice in between filling orders for everyone else looking for a new way to ice fish.
To try one of these units out you can check out their website theblackholeoutdoors.com or swing on by their plant off Highway 10 east in Verndale. For a limited time, you can even dine in one in the outdoors at the Pirate's Den in Verndale, another business owned by Hagen and finding success thanks to a small-town partnership.