Monday, February 17, 2014

My first fish of 2014

The last 4 weekends I have had basketball games.  I have been coaching 1st and 2nd grade basketball.  This was my first free weekend and I wanted to take advantage of the cold snap we had the previous 2 weeks.

Friday night my son was in homecoming as a ball carrier, so I we went to the game that night.  I made plans to leave on Saturday to drive 4 1/2 hours to my parents so that Dad and I could sneak out to do some ice fishing on Sunday morning.

The previous 2 days had been warm and windy.  Not a good combination for the ice.  I made the trip anyway knowing that we could always fish off the fishing dock if we needed to.

We arrived at my parents Saturday afternoon and hung around that afternoon and night.  Before we went to bed we made plans to leave in time to get to the lake by sun up. 

I awoke an hour before my alarm went off.  There's something about hunting and fishing that triggers my internal alarm.  We made it to the lake before sun up and saw that the cold through the night had refrozen the slush that had been created by melting ice the day before.  Dad boogied out onto the ice.  I was concerned about the thickness after 2 near 70 degree days, but followed him out anyway. 

He broke open a couple previous holes and tested the depth of the ice.  It was a good 7 inches thick.  I felt a lot better about being out over 20 feet of water at that point.

Dad went to work drilling holes while I fished in a couple we broke open.  It had been a looooong time since I had been ice fishing, so I was hoping I still had the knack.  I started out with a Swedish pimple but lost in pretty quick.  I switched to a dot tipped with a meal worm. 

It took quite a while but I finally had a hit.  I got the fish up and had my first fish of the year.  A bluegill!  The fishing was slow.  Dad's vexilar was not picking up any activity.  He was fishing a ledge that dropped from 10 foot down to 20 foot.  I stayed shallower in 8 to 10 foot of water around wood cover and moss.

It was getting later in that morning and we still weren't having great luck when Dad stuck his vexilar in my hole.  In a short time I saw a red line under my lure.  I would lift my lure and the line would follow.  Then I lowered my lure to the red line and jiggled just a little.  When I lifted my rod, I had a fish attached. 

As soon as I got the fish off the line I saw several others on the vexilar.  It was pretty exciting.  I had one following my line, but he wouldn't take the bait.  Dad dropped his Swedish pimple down the same hole and he took it right away. 

I caught one more bluegill out of the hole right after that.  Then as quick as they had shown up they were gone.    I worked that hole for a while longer before moving to the other hole I had caught the 1st bluegill.  I dropped my dot to the bottom and went to lift the tip of my pole when I felt some weight at the end of the line.  I pulled up and had a good fighter on my hands.  It definitely wasn't a bluegill.  As the fish got to the surface I saw it was a bass.  It made an evasive maneuver at the bottom of the hole using its head and tail to push off both sides of the hole.  It pulled free.

I pulled a smaller largemouth out of the same hole a while later, then right before we were leaving I pulled out 1 more.  I kept hoping they would be a nice sized saugeye.

As we were getting ready to leave another fisherman came out to see how things had went.  He had been at Webster and said that the ice was getting pretty thin there.  It had started to bow underneath him and decided to check out a different lake.  I like my ice to be good and thick.  Standing on ice that bows underneath you sounds completely crazy. 

I've fallen through the ice before.  It was at a pond and it wasn't that deep, but it is scary, especially when you are by yourself.  On top of that I had a mile walk back to the house and had to strip out of my clothing as it was freezing solid on my walk back. 

We had fish for lunch at my parents then got on the road to return home.  The whole way back I was radiating from the fun I had fishing with Dad in the morning.