I would not call myself the scourge of the lake
an infection maybe, by any means. But I sure put a small dent in the blue gill population last weekend. I was fortunate enough to have two solid days of fishing laid out in front of me after stuffing the other resposibilities in the over-stuffed closet, and since it was the middle of January, it meant ice fishing, and I would be walking slipping on the water.
Since, it was the first trip of the season I had forgotten how cold winter could be on the wind-swept ice
, duh. Therefore, I only put on some of my warm, winter gear; grabbed most of my fishing gear, and took off for the ice looking for adventure, and fresh fish. All the while, leaving my portable fishing shanty in the warm, insulated garage… Right next to the portable heater.
Over the years, I have developed
a technique…several techniques, of how to maximize my catch while on the ice. I will offer up only one two today. Not because I am hoarding the others, and don’t want to share; but instead, because the others don’t work. I have found that cursing yelling at the hole in frustration does nothing little to lure the fish out of the hole.
What I do is travel
down the hill on a red sled to my favorite fishing area on the ice and drill a couple of holes, using my handy-dandy ice auger. Then I fish them, one after the other, quite thoroughly. When I say thoroughly, I mean for hours at a time I drop the lure with a wax worm bait to the bottom of the lake, and jig it about for 5-10 seconds, and let it rest for 10-20 seconds, while watching my blaze orange strike indicator. If there are no strikes indicated, I wind the handle of my fishing reel 1 turn, and continue the process again; watching the strike indicator closely for any movement. I use a strike indicator that is very sensitive, because while using an underwater camera a couple of season’s I observed many times; several species of panfish take the bait lightly in their mouth, is if trying to feel if they could detect a hook in the bait before taking it only to spit it out ungratfuly. The fish would do this very quickly. The strike indicator definitely increased the number of fish I took, however, because if there is even the slightest twitch I slowly lift the rod in a consistent, continuous motion, often times pulling the line hand over hand until the fish pops out of the ice with a shocked and bewildered expression. Many times when laying the fish on the ice the fish will simply flop off the hook on it’s own because it was never completely set in the first place, and after releasing the pressure on the rod then the hook would fall out of the fishes mouth. Then you hear the fish cursing you.
Typically if the holes are producing I will hang out until it slows, sometimes to long. If I am staring at the indicator so long that it begins to look like a bright orange praying mantis about to
tell me to go home and get my hat and gloves strike, then I know it is time to drill a few more holes nearby. At that point I set up a route like a postal worker checking mailboxes; spending a few minutes at each hole before moving on to the next, looking for that tasty school of fish. Then, when I find them, well… those are good times. It definitely makes the hours sitting on the ice freezing my digits off worth it.
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