Thursday, January 1, 2009

First Outing of the New Year!

The 2009 Ice Fishing Season Is Here!

With the new year looking us in the face, I had to plan something to get us out in the field since I had New Years Day off this year. Fellow Pro Staff member Chuck Parr, myslef and Mikey decided we would hook up with a friend of Chuck's and try a little ice fishing at a lake in southern Michigan. It was the same lake that Chuck and his friend tried last year with no luck, but his friend has since found out where to set up on the pike!

Chuck & I With The Up North Journal Rig!

Looking Across The Main Lake

For some strange reason Chuck managed to talk me into getting up at 5:30am to go fishing! Is he nuts! Yes, but I guess I am too, since we got up and headed out! Now this year we have the Up North Journal rig to transport all of our stuff, so that means we got to bring out the quad! I wasn't exactly hip on the idea of bringing the four wheelers out on the ice at this point in the season. We had 55 degree weather just 4 days earlier with a lot of rain. I was afraid the ice would be too thin, but I thought I would let Chuck's friend be the guinea pig!

4" Of Clear Hard Ice

I watched as he crossed the ice and punched holes along the way to make sure it was thick enough. After seeing him cross safely and him wave me across I made the mad dash across the ice to the other side of the cove. We made our way around a point into another little cove and dropped off the gear, then we went back to grab Chuck and Mikey.

The Guys Heading Out After Dropping Off The ATVs

When we got everyone back to the spot where our gear was, we began to search for the big drop off that we saw on the hydro map. It took a few holes and checks of the depth until we found the spot we were looking for. Then we set four tip up rigs, then we began to look for the deep hole. The ice was only about 4 inches thick so we left the quads near the shoreline where it was a good 6 to 8 inches thick. We found the hole that was about 60 feet deep and began to drill our holes to fish in.

Looking Through The Ice Into The Deep

Just as we got set up and began to fish the wind picked up. Chuck's buddy Jeremy set up his ice shanty and he stepped out of it at the wrong time. The wind blew hard just as he stepped out of it and the shanty became a wind sock! It went sliding across the ice! I never seen someone move so fast across the ice before. Chuck gave him a few ice spikes to nail down the shanty and that worked pretty well. After about an hour of nothing happening, we moved back into shallow water. Jeremy said, it was probably too early in the season for the fish to be that deep. We left the tip ups on the edge of the drop off in hopes of a pike hitting them. We sat for a while and we were standing around talking when Jeremy tried something. He took a small spoon and tied it on his line to scrape up the bottom with. He explained that the disturbed sediment would atract the perch. They would think it was small burrowing water creatures that they feed on making the sediment cloud in the water. It took about 10 minutes and a small school of perch swam through his hole! Within a few seconds of seeing them he had one through the ice! That was a pretty cool trick I thought. After another hour of nothing happening though, Jeremy and I took a walk back into the bay to see if we could find any good spots.

Mikey Doing His Thing!

Along the walk he would punch a hole and check the depth, after about three checks we found a nice weed bed in about 5 feet of water. We got all the gear and Mikey and Chuck joined us at the new spot. We were sitting there talking when Jeremy's rod took a tumble in the shanty, he had one on! He scrambled to grab the rod and pull the fish through the ice. It was a bass, it was about 10 inches long, but at least it was a catch. It wasn't legal size so back in the hole he went. It wasn't long until Jeremy noticed a perch hanging around his bait. The fish was nibbling at the minnow but it wouldn't take the offering completely. It finally took off and that was the end of the fishing.

Mmmmm Bait!

About that time we noticed a couple of younger kids riding two quads across the ice at a pretty fast clip. They were hot dogging it and I told the guys, someone is going to go through the ice if they kept it up. They were out in the middle of the lake where the ice wasn't as thick so they were risking not only their machines, but their lives as well. Jeremy and I took the gear back to the vehicle and we were going to come back and pick up Chuck and Mikey. While we were taking the stuff back to the truck, one of the kids on the other machines went through the ice. According to Chuck and Mikey, he stopped on the ice and then reved up his engine to pop a wheelie. When he dropped the clutch the rear tires broke through the ice and water was spinning up over the tires. As he was going through, he reved the engine more and the machine grabbed something and pulled itself out of the hole in the ice! I bet that kid had to clean his shorts out when he got off the ice! I wished I would have had the video camera rolling on that one!

Me Looking Cold!

Chuck Looking Like Frosty The Snowman!

On the way back, Chuck had to set backwards on Jeremy's machine for the ride back to the boat launch. He got covered with snow and looked like frosty the snowman when we got to the boat launch. We got back, took a few pictures and loaded everything up and headed home. We didn't catch any fish, but at least we got out on the first day of 2009! It was a good way to start the year off, and as they say, a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work anytime!

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