A couple of years ago my dear, sweet, lovely wife bought me some ice fishing jigs from the website, Bentleyfishing.com, which held a lot of promise. Except, of course, for the promise of good ice. Nevertheless, whenever an opportunity came to be at the lake, the ice was too thin to venture out on.
As Christmas break 2013 approached and the temperatures dropped, hopes began to rise for a chance to sneak in some ice fishing. In preparation, I had purchased some wax worms and a new Nils auger from the local candy store, known as Cabela’s. My goal with the auger was to attach it to my 18 volt drill and spin holes in the ice as fast as a NASCAR tire changer. When I expressed those thoughts to my father-in-law, he suggested we make a bit that would join the drill and auger together. My father-in-law, Trout-Master Jim, does MacGyver work on the side; when he is not trout-mastering, of course.
T.M.J. led me to the garage where all manner of presses, Bridgeport milling machines, hammers, and other vices hung about waiting for the skilled operator to put them to good use. Watching the master metal worker operate his machines was very fascinating. He took chunks of metal and whittled them down into the form he wanted, slapped them on the auger and sent me on my way. I make it sound easy, but I wouldn’t be able to recreate what Trout-Master Jim did if I had two life times.
Returning to the lake I began punching holes into the ice as quickly as I could. I then rigged two ice fishing rods with Bentley Jigs; one pure white jig with a Swarovski crystal, and the other a three-hooked beast called the Tarantula. The first thing I learned about the tarantula was that the hooks were very sharp. In fact, while baiting the Tarantula I quickly found myself engaged in an intense game of Cat’s Cradle. I was winning the game until I began baiting the second hook. As I baited it up, my other fingers worked to keep the two remaining hooks from tangling with the hook I was working on, until I felt the sting of the final hook as it sank so deeply into my finger that I feared pulling out bone, gristle, and other assorted innards when I removed it. I quickly learned that a steady hand is needed to bait these hooks.
Every outing during the 2013 Christmas Break produced fish, some with the white jig, and many more with the Tarantula. There was one outing in particular in which I caught my legal limit of Bluegill’s in 2 hours. There were times when I was catching 3+ fish per minute.
When the fishing is easy like this, you can fool yourself into believing that you have more to do with catching fish than dropping a line down a hole. This can have lasting, and sometimes irreversible effects on an angler. Symptoms include an inflated ego, a swelled head, and lack of desire to attend family functions, because the angler claims to have found the “secret to catching fish.” That is until the next time the angler goes out fishing and gets skunked. Then like a shot of penicillin, the inflated head, and swelled ego go away. Perhaps the ultimate lesson to learn after a great day of fishing is to immediately retire from the sport and write a How-to-book.
– The End