Wednesday, January 23, 2013

90 minutes

Not sure why we decided to go icing on one, if not the coldest day of 2013 thus far. I think somewhere in this mass above my shoulders there was a thought that it would be cool to be first on the ice right after the recent warm spell that made most bodies of water unsafe to ice fish.  It was what, -26 with the windchill today? Forget who in their right minds would stand outside on top of frozen water in these conditions, why is the real question here.
During the first hole we drilled, a three way pressure crack popped out in different directions before we could get through to water.  I sprung like a mongoose avoiding a lunging snake and two-stepped ten feet back.  The ice was no more than four inches at best. It didn’t look like we should be fishing on this stuff but we decided to move further over to test another spot. What would make us think the ice was any better seemed illogical and if true, unnerving as to just how unpredictable ice formation can be.
I had a different ice scooper with me. One that did not have a measurement on it so I hand measured the thickness. It was five inches. Go figure it was better so we moved over more and repeated the test. It was also a good five. Now my hand is red and really feeling wintery. Where did common sense go when I decided to take off my glove off deserves no answer.
We lasted only 90 minutes out there. Why would anyone go through all this only to wimp out in such a short time?
It’s what we do in the winter while we wait for the rivers to become ideal for steelheading again. It’s fun to see fish on the flasher. It’s like playing a video game. See the fish come in, dangle the offering to them, make them move for it and trigger them to strike.

The Rolling Rock, burgers and wings were instrumental in bringing us back up to normal body temps.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Got Ice?

I sit here looking out the window. With all this rain melting the driveway black, I am thinking of rivers and steelhead though just a few days ago, I was on the phone to Brad whilst standing in the tackle shop.

" You need anything while I'm here?"

Brad's reply made me chuckle out loud.

" Nope. I still have some of the stuff I bought last year, still in the package!"

I was in for new auger blades but could not help picking up a few tungsten jigs. Apparently they are the latest thing. They look identical to the lead painted ones I was using last winter but these are smaller and heavier. When it comes to ice fishing for perch and panfish, I am a big fan of small presentations. Maramooska's are my favorite, down to a #18 - #20 hook. The only downside is that I need to use shot on the line to get the jig down. These new tungsten jigs resemble the same jighead shape as the Maramooska but are weighted enough that I only need to send it down the hole. Having no shot on the line heightens the sensitivity.

Safe ice, from a personal comfort level, around here is scarce at the moment. The ice seemed still in its early stages so while there was good fishing to be had up on Cooks or down at Mitchell's, I was not willing to make those longer drives just yet. Instead, a local pond would have set up as thick as those farther away. I text'd Brad and told him to come by the house after 9am and we would head over to check out the ice conditions.

" Bring an ice rod with you just in case. "

When we arrived, we were alone though boot and sled tracks on the pond proved we were not only the first nor the stupid ones eager to ice fish. A slow shimmy with the rope in hand " in case", we followed the tracks to some pre-drilled holes. It was all solid so we popped a fresh one. Three inches of solid good black ice with another inch of white unstable ice encrusted on top.

Not what I consider 100% comfortable. We moved in away from the main channel of the pond and punch a few more holes and started jigging.

There wasn't much expectations of icing let alone getting into fish however, five hours later, I called it a day as I wanted to surprise my son at school and pick him up so he did not have to take the school bus home.

I don't think this weather we are currently having will do the ice fishing anglers any favors. Looks like the 13' rod will need to come out of hibernation next week.