If you want to go ice fishing, you will need an efficient sled. Many experts recommend a Smitty sled, also called a “sledski.” This article will look at the key specs and features of a Smitty sled and how to build your own.
A Smitty sled is a platform/sled mounted on skis, where you can haul your fishing gear when you go ice fishing. You could buy a customized Smitty sled from a builder, or you can build your own. It is simple to construct, plus, you can save money when you can do it yourself.
The most usual proportions of a Smitty sled are: 2 x 4 inches wood cut at a 45° angle for the front; and two pieces of 2 x 6 inches Wood, both six inches long, to match the back. The cross members are 1 x 4 pieces of wood cut to 25 inches long.
Smitty sleds are uncommon, and many ice fishers still have not caught on with this innovation. However, there are many advantages to using a Smitty sled. Many have also built their own Smitty sleds with simple woodworking tools.
Read on to learn more about the Smitty sled, including and how you can build your own.
Smitty Sled Specs and Features
A Smitty sled, a platform or sled mounted on skis, is useful in hauling your fishing gear when you go ice fishing. You could either buy a customized Smitty sled from a builder, or you can build your own. If you opt for the latter, you can expect that it’d be easy for you to construct. Plus, you can also save money.
The dimensions of the Smitty sled depends on how much heavy a load you plan to haul. If you plan to haul a load of about 150 pounds, you can choose the 2 x 6’s.
With light loads, you can go with 2 x 4’s. You could also build your platform to be 4 to six inches off the skis. You can then attach a 20-30-ft rope to the tip of the skis. These dimensions should allow you to ride over the ice and snow quite smoothly. You can do this without the skis sinking more than one to 2 inches. 
Almost all variant sizes of Smitty sleds have the same dimensions as to length and height. Most often, it is the width of the crossbars that vary.
Some users prefer a removable platform because they can conveniently remove it and place it in their car’s trunk when transporting.
Some sled ski platforms are made of wood, collapsible material, or plastic. This depends on the angler’s preferences. Some people use their platforms as regular sleds when needed.
Builders use any skis – even old but durable skis. Skiers recommend the downhill skis over cross country. The downhill skis are wider than the cross country; thus, they tend to ‘float’ on snow or ice.
On the other hand, the cross-country skis usually dig deeper into the ice when hauled with heavy loads. So, cross-country skis are better. The length of the skis would depend on what you want to haul. Most ice anglers prefer about two-feet long skis. Nonetheless, you should customize your own based on your purpose.
4. Hauling Rope
The hauling rope should be non-absorbent and tied securely to the tips of the skis. The most recommended length is from 20 to 30 feet. This length will allow you enough length to tie your ski and sled properly.
When pulling your Smitty sled, your distance from the Smitty must be at least 8 feet. You can use whatever length you feel comfortable with, so long as you can haul your sled efficiently.
The below video is a great Smitty sled review which includes its key specs and features:
Pros and Cons of the Smitty Sled
1. Convenient for Ice Fishing
You can place all your fishing gear in your Smitty sled and haul them conveniently. Many anglers prefer hauling a Smitty sled to an All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV). With their gear all in one place, they do not have to walk back and forth.
2. Easy to Maneuver
Since the Smitty sled is not bulky or too big to haul, you can easily maneuver it to your ice holes and proceed with your fishing.
Some anglers prefer walking and hauling the Smitty sled than using ATVs, as this is safer. You can tread carefully than driving around recklessly and then have a mishap.
You can spend $30 to build your Smitty sled. Home Depot could provide all your materials, such as eyebolts, carriage bolts, and lumber. If you are diligent enough to search, you can buy your downhill skis for only $14. 
4. Ease of Pulling
The Smitty sled is easier to pull rather than using a one-person power snowplow or an otter. Smitty sleds are also safer as you can have the correct pace to choose your path carefully.
All you need is the proper placement of the pulling rope on the sled and around your shoulders, and you are good to go.
5. Smitty Sled Kits Make Assembling Easier
You can now buy Smitty sled kits that you could assembly yourself. The kit includes all materials, such as high-grade wood, screws, bolts, and rope, to build your sled. The manufacturer included clear instructions so that you can assemble your Smitty quickly.
The kit does not include the skis, though. You will have to buy them from your trusted store. You can order your Smitty sled kit on Facebook from this seller, and they will deliver it directly to your address.
Poorly Constructed Smitty Sleds Increase Cost
When you use low-quality material to build your Snitty sled, it could easily get damaged. You would surely spend more because you have to build your sled once again.
Using quality materials at the onset will benefit you as your Smitty sled would last longer. The materials may be more expensive, but your sled would last longer; thus, it will cost less in the long run.
The Smitty sled origin, also known as a “sled ski,” is not quite clear. Many believe that the sled was named after the first person, Smitty, who invented it a long time ago.
You can easily build yours too, and fully enjoy your ice angling. Below are instructions on how you can build a Smitty sled.
How to Build a Smitty Sled
Materials You Need
- A pair of skis about 1.5 feet or 2 feet long
- 1 piece of 8-foot 2 x 6 inches high-quality wood
- 1 piece of 8-foot 2 x 4 inches high-quality wood
- 4 eyebolts/screws
- 25 – 30 feet waxy rope (non-absorbent)
- Additional weather-proof screws to secure the Smitty sled
1. Draw a Sketch of the Smitty Sled You Want to Build
The sketch does not have to be perfect, provided that you get the measurements correct for your purpose. Your dimensions should fit the load you want to haul.
Draw a sketch of the Smitty sled you want to build before you start building. Through this way, you know what materials you exactly need.
You could also draw the specifications you want and let an expert build your Smitty sled for you. However, you could save labor costs if you do it yourself.
2. Measure the Exterior of the Sleds and the Skis
Ensure that your sled could fit the length of your skis, and there is enough space in front and at the back of your skis.
Also, you should build a Smitty sled that you could actually haul by yourself. There is no use building a big Smitty when you cannot use it on the snow or ice when you go ice fishing.
3. Cut Your Blocks Based on Your Dimensions
Cut the 2 x 6 inches and the 2 x 4 inches blocks for the center and then position them on the ski. Counter-sink them with screws to anchor them firmly.
You can notch up the cross blocks with the 2 x 4 inches blocks by cutting the block’s center to fit in the cross blocks.
Please do not put your 2 x 4 inches on top of your 2 x 6 inches wood but make a U-shaped-notch instead where you can securely sit your 2 x 4 on it.
This position would prevent the 2 x 4 to twist when you pull the ropes and prevent snapping the 2 x 4 block off from your sled.
4. Drill Holes at the Skis’ Tips
Take the bindings off your skis and drill holes at their tips. Insert the rope into the holes and loop it so that you can quickly and easily haul the sled. You can tie a double loop at the upper portion of the skis.
5. Put Eyebolts at the Center Junction of Your Blocks
The eyebolts will ensure that your blocks are secure enough. Remember to put three screws, with one at a 45 degrees angle at the blocks’ junction. You should also countersink your screws for more stability and durability.
The below video shows clear steps on how to build a simple Smitty sled.
Tips for Building a Smitty Sled
1. You Could Use Old Materials
If you are skimping, you could use old materials, but ascertain that these are durable and still working. When money is not a problem, you can use brand-new materials to create your Smitty sled.
3. Aluminum Is More Durable than Wood
You could use aluminum to build a Smitty sled that could last a lifetime. Aluminum sleds are also lighter.
Furthermore, wood materials tend to get damaged over time. You may paint the wood to make it last longer, but aluminum is still the more durable and lighter material.
4. You Can Wax Older Skis to Make Them Work Again
In cases when your skis are so old that they do not slide smoothly, you can wax them so that they can work again.
However, you could always buy a new one for as low as $14 to $30 in your local skiing stores. Ascertain that you choose the correct length for the Smitty sled you plan to build.
5. Use Rust-Proof or Weather-Proof Screws
The screws of your Smitty sled play a crucial role in its lifespan. If your screws are readily corroded and damaged, your sled would easily fall apart too.
You may want to use stainless-steel screws or zinc-plated screws, or other similar weather-proof screws for better safety.
6. Make Sure the Distance of Both Sides Are Equal
The front sides’ distances from the tip of the ski must be equal. Also, the distances of both sides of the sled’s back from the end of the ski must be equal.
This would ensure that it will slide easily and uniformly without twisting when you pull your Smitty sled’s rope. Put the rope across your chest so that you can pull more conveniently.
7. You Can Choose Removable Platforms
You could use removable platforms for your Smitty sled. Your choice would depend on how you plan to use your Smitty.
Removable platforms can be convenient for those with little space on their car trunks, as you can dismantle your sled and assemble it once you are in your fishing site.
8. Attach the Rope Firmly
Attach the rope firmly to the ski tips to pull the skis and not the sled. Feed the rope up from the skis’ bottom, and then tie your knot securely at the skis’ top.
When you pull the skis, it will lift the tips of the skis slightly to allow you to haul your Smitty sled over the snow.
Conclusion – Smitty Sled Specs and Review
The Smitty sled is not commonly sold in stores. But you can order a customized Smitty sled if you want to. You could also build your own to save on cost.
Many ice anglers still do not use Smitty sleds. If you want to go ice fishing, you may want to try using a Smitty sled.
You can order a customized Smitty sled or build your own. The sled is easy to build with these most common proportions: two 2 x 4 inches wood cut at a 45° angle for the front and two 2 x 6 pieces of wood, both at six inches long for the back.
The dimensions may vary based on your preferences. You can customize your Smitty sled to match what weight you want to haul when you go ice-fishing.
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