Monday, January 27, 2014

Bass, More Bass, and Some Bluegills

After my last trip out ice fishing I was happy to be catching fish but I really wanted to catch some bass through the ice.

Pondboy's birthday is this week.  He has a tradition of going ice fishing for his birthday.  I've taken days off and fished with him in past years.  This year things moved forward a day to Sunday for the birthday outing.

The temperature was around 20 degrees and around 4" of snow had fallen/was falling as we drove to the first spot.  The streets were all either un-plowed or partially plowed and driving was challenging but we are an intrepid bunch!  We fished the first pond long enough to all score some small bluegills.  I was fishing with Ted aka SoonerBass. Here he is with the largest of the gills we found at the first pond.

It wasn't a giant but when you're given lemons you are thankful for lemonade.  Sooner had to leave and I packed up my gear.  I headed to another lake that wasn't too far away.  I was hoping there would be a good bass bite there.  I wanted some variety in my ice angling.  Mainly I wanted to catch something other than bluegills.  I was worn out on just bluegills!

Shelter setup was a breeze as I already had an idea of where to find the break from 5 feet to 10 feet.  Very few holes were needed to determine where to set up.  It took a bit of time to set my camera up so it could see my deadstick jig and minnow as well as my ice jig in the next hole over. I don't have a way to record from my Vexilar Double-Vision system yet so you'll just have to trust that I could see what was going on below me.

What I saw were blue gills, swimming along not minding my minnow. Then a fish with a different pattern came up and checked out the camera.  Then it checked out the minnow.  Then It opened it's big mouth and slurped in the minnow, jig and all.  All while I was tying on my jigging setup.  I dropped my jig, set the hook on my deadstick and pulled in my first non-bluegill in several trips out ice fishing.

Not at all huge but boy was it a treat to have something on the other end of my line that could pull some drag out of my little ultra-light reels.

Jigging a tungsten jig with an Aurora Lure Company Maggie in white color, and a white spike pulled up bluegill, after bluegill. Then something that felt like a really big bluegill.

It was a bass!  It's always nice to be jigging up a big mark on my Vexilar and have it bite and be a species I wasn't expecting it to be.  I saw a few big bluegills staring into my camera as I released the last bass.  They were so close to the lens they took up most of the screen on my Double-Vision's screen.  My tungsten jig hit the bottom and made the fish turn.  I slowly pulled the jig up from the bottom twitching it slightly as I raised it up.  The largest gill made a bee-line for my jig. Two twitches and teases up and it bit.

It measured 8.25" which is not bad at all for a bluegill. It was lippable so it passed my test for a big bluegill.  Awesome!  I was exited about catching bluegills again.  A quick look at my screen showed the other gill was still there.  Time for a quick release and the same presentation as I gave the first.  Drop the jig, smack the bottom, raise the jig, twitch, twitch, twitch, SET!  Does that sound like the next big dance craze? Well, kinda, but it's what I did and it caught this slightly smaller 8" bluegill so I'd do that dance over and over again if it produced this result.

Oh, about that last drop.  The big gill got away with my spikes.  The only bait that was there for that gill to eat was my white Maggie. The realistic look coupled with the dirty-scent talked it into eating and coming up for a picture.  Speaking of picture where is my float?

This little guy wouldn't stop flopping around long enough for me to lip it so I let it calm down and took the picture on the ice.

The lake had strong winds and gusts blowing the entire time I was fishing. The hill I had walked down to get to the water had thigh-deep snow drifts there when I pulled my shelter up on to the solid ground. I'm 6'2" and have long legs.  Deep drifts. 

I had a great time celebrating my fishing buddy's birthday fishing.  I got the bass that I wanted.  I got myself right with bluegills again and I enjoyed a day of ice fishing.  I caught today.  I caught lots today.  I caught Bass, More Bass, and Some Bluegills!