When you’re out in the field, you’re usually pretty far from the nearest convenience store or gas station mart. Getting ice for your fish cooler can be a bit of a problem.
Thanks to Bill Shelton of Shelton Products, you don’t have to worry any longer.
In this article, Bill will show you how to make tubes – which he calls “Polar Bear Tubes” – that will keep your cooler cold and your fish fresh.
The tubes are made from simple PVC piping and filled 80% with water. You simply take the tubes, put them in the freezer until the water freezes, and then drop them into your cooler.
Bill also shows you how to make a false bottom to your cooler to keep your catch free of bloody debris.
Measure and cut PVC tubing to fit inside your cooler.
Measure the maximum internal width of your cooler. Cut two-inch PVC piping to fit inside your cooler. Make sure to leave enough space because you’ll be putting end caps on either side of the tubes.
Glue on one end cap. Let the glue dry, then fill the tube 80% of the way up with water. Glue on the other end cap.
You can usually just buy a twenty foot section of PVC piping at your local hardware store.
These completed tubes are 21 inches long.
You only need a couple, but it’s good to make a few for backup or for additional coolers.
Add a false bottom with some small diameter PVC tubing and a piece of plastic.
You might want to drop a couple of pieces of small-diameter PVC piping on the bottom of the cooler. This will prop up the fish and prevent your fresh catch from sitting in filthy water.
The completed false bottom.
Simply take a couple of pieces of 3/4″ PVC piping and attach them to a plastic sheet. It’s a good idea to cut the plastic sheet to match the contour of the cooler so the whole platform doesn’t slosh around. Put some notches in the ends of the plastic sheet for drainage and to make it easy to remove.
It’s OK if the tubes are shorter than the cooler.
The tubes here are 21 inches long. They’re smaller than the cooler because they’re sized to fit the inside of Bill’s garage refrigerator.
Bill’s cooler ready for a great day of fishing.
Finished cooler with a quick release buckle screwed to the lid.
Bill took a section of two inch webbing with a quick release buckle and screwed it to the lid of the cooler. This strap keeps the lid from opening during transit.
Now you’re ready to fish without having to worry about how you’re going to keep your fresh catch cool. This definitely beats wasting time trying to find ice at a local convenience mart – that’s usually closed early in the morning anyways!