Monday, February 10, 2014

Snowy Saturday Crappies

I was up late Friday night so I didn't want to be up at the crack of dawn to go fishing on Saturday. The weather was supposed to be cold until early afternoon when we could expect warmer temperatures in the 20s and a forecasted 1-4 inches of snow. I packed up slowly and took my time getting to the lake I was planning on fishing today.  Maybe I took a little too much time.

I hadn't been parked long before my windshield was completely covered by big, fluffy snowflakes. I knew the slog from my car to the area I knew to be productive would be hindered by the snow. The deeper it gets the harder it is to drag a sled along behind you.  I'm 6'2".  I mention that to show what I was walking through for the first 50 yards pulling my Frabill Trekker Max shelter.

Those are my knees.  I have a strap tied to the rope for pulling the shelter.  I take this strap and loop it around my waist.  Then I walk until I need to stop to take a breather.  I finally got to an area I figured was in the basin I've identified as good multi-species area. I drilled holes and walked around flashing, looking for fish and a drop off. I drilled a bunch of holes and my depth stayed around seven feet.  I carried a new rod with me; a Frabill Straight-Line combo.  I found one hole with bottom activity.  I dropped the dark Bentley jig down to the level of the commotion on my flasher.  The commotion came up and ate my jig.  What would the commotion be?

Snow courtesy of Google Auto Awesome
It was a crappie!  I love catching crappies!  They are a fish with plenty of personality that hit minnows differently than they hit jigs, than they hit spoons, than they hit Darters and Zippers.  I decided to set up my shelter here.  At least there was one crappie here.  There is almost never only one crappie in an area as they are schooling fish.  I hadn't been in my shelter very long when I found another crappie.  

Then another...

The perch pattern Clam tungsten jig seemed to be the ticket for the crappies today.  The ticket to a 12"+ crappie for me!

I know, I need to get a bump-board to measure fish on before the Kayak Wars season starts up. For now I measure crappie against objects in my ice equipment. See the crappie overflowing the corner-to-corner hold.  The corner-to-corner measurement is 12".  The side to side measurement is 10.75".  That is important to remember after I change jigs.  That happens right about now.

That's an 11" crappie!  I changed to a big glow-in-the-dark Clam tungsten jig with red eyes and accents, tipped with a red maggie and red spikes for extra flavor.  It worked! Drop the jig to the bottom, whap it against the bottom a few times, then raise up a foot or two and watch the crappie zoom in and whack the jig.  I lost a few at the hole that I swear were larger than the 12" but they didn't stay stuck to the jig so I can't prove it.

I caught several more crappie, lost several more, finally what made me decide to stop fishing was I melted my 2# ice line with my heater and the jig dropped off behind it. 

The snow was still falling.  I had to shake it off my shelter as I packed it up.  I had readied my body for the long walk through deep snow back to my car and I still made several stops along the way to catch my breath. The shelter slides easily over ice but snow is a whole other matter.

The ice is good and thick and should stay that way for several more trips out on top of the lakes and ponds.  I hope the ice stays and the snow goes.  I don't mind fishing in the snow but it sure makes it hard to drag my creature comforts with me.  It's those comforts that make it nice to catch Snowy Saturday Crappies.