Saturday, February 2, 2013

Private Pond Gills

Pondboy and I made our plans Saturday.  We decided he would drive, we'd take my ice shelter, then drive to someplace he doesn't get to fish very often but has been fishing since he was of high-school age.

As a kid Pondboy snuck in to this pond a few times but stopped after a nightime top-water fishing trip ended with him on his stomach for a hour.  You see the noise from the lures splashing down added to the noise of bass slamming the topwater in the dark caused one house to turn on their outside lights, then the next, then the spotlight from a squad car ended the trip.  Now you see why he ended up on his belly in the weeds.  He was hiding from the police.

Some time in high school Dan met a girl who was a friend of a friend.  They started talking and Dan found out she lived on this private pond where he'd been sneaking in to fish.  He quickly asked if she thought he could come fish in the pond sometime.  She arranged for it to happen but with one caveat; everyone's property line extends to the water so Dan had to fish within the boundaries of her yard.  That brought up the subject of boats and he received permission to bring his 10' skiff and greatly increase the area he could fish.

Flash forward to Sunday January 27, 2013.  Pondboy is now a Facebook friend with this woman who's parents still live in the same house on the same pond.  A short exchange of messages and she alerted her parents to call the neighbors so they wouldn't call the cops on the two guys walking around on top of the lake.

The weather was on a strange trip for January.  That month had flirted with cold weather and embraced it more than December but tomorrow the cold would yield to a warm front.  Who knows how the ice will react to almost 60 degrees and rain so we were taking every opportunity to find fish on this pond.

I drilled a test hole a few feet from shore; 5.25".  Very safe.  The rest of the pond didn't drop below 4.5" of ice thickness and how do I know that you may ask?  Because I walked all over it drilling holes trying to find fish on the edges of weed beds.  Dan was following me with his new fish finder on a Genz Box.  He wasn't sure of the settings and modes just yet so I could drill 20 holes and circle back around with my flasher and a custom ultra-light ice rod.  I did this after my second set of 20 holes and it paid off.

A cute largemouth was fun to watch rise up off the bottom and get teased into biting my jig.  This picture and a quick release later and I was back to drilling.

We decided to set up the shelter and fish seated so six holes were drilled in a line and the Frabill tent flipped over us as we sat in the comfy seats.  A small adjustment to line up the shelter sled-body with our holes and we got to fishing.

In our first spot, in short order Dan picks up this lovely crappie.  He was relieved the skunk had been broken for him.  Now we could work on catching more.  Where there's one crappie there are more, right?

"Dan," I said after 20 fishless minutes "I think that that was a rogue-crappie"

We chuckled about the thought of one lone crappie swimming around the pond but for the rest of the trip we wouldn't catch another one.  No more crappie.  No more anything on Dan's fish finder and nothing below my holes in my flasher's cone.  Time to move.

Flipping back the tent let out all the warmth we had trapped in the shelter.  Quickly we put on gloves and started flashing and fish finding in holes to try to find fish.  Then we tried to find weed edges as no fish seemed to be near any of our holes.

We parked in our second and final spot.  I used my ION electric auger to drill three, eight inch holes with an inch of ice between them for my long custom rods and three more just like them a foot closer to the shelter for Dan's standard size ice rods.

We noticed the temperature drop and got the shelter and Mr. Heater situated to make our time on the ice comfortable.  It was at that point the freezing "Wintery Mix" started to fall.  It was at that point another thing started to happen; we started marking fish.

Big, beautiful Brim began biting!  (I couldn't resist the alliteration)  To make things even better the only thing the big bluegills would bite was the tantalizing tail of the Little Atom Nuggies we each were jigging with.

The one fish we decided to measure was 8.25".  That's a nice bluegill!!!

All Little Atom, all afternoon.  Quality gills kept combing the weedline we were sitting above and Nuggies were what was for dinner!

We didn't want to go but both Dan and I had to be home for different reasons so it made sense to end the day.  Aside from the one bass which was caught on waxworms everything else we caught wanted Little Atom Nuggies!  The Nuggies saved the day for us, turning a slow day on the ice to a fun time jigging for bluegills.  Litlle Atom bluegills from a private pond.