Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Pond, Familiar Lake

There are stories passed down between fishermen when they meet as acquaintances.  Most involve tales of how big the fish were or the quantity caught the last time the angler was fishing. Once there is trust established by this conversation the "sharing of the spots" sometimes occurs. I was fishing the ice on a lake I fished a lot last year.  I had things figured out so I could find the crappies I so love to catch last year so when we didn't have early winter and didn't have the extreme cold, and snow the fish weren't in the same places as they were last year.  

The story that got me to even try this new body of water was due to the expert words shared by a fisherman that his buddy's friend said if I walk x-number of paces off this landmark on the shore of this new pond nearby I'd find a 17-foot hole full of crappies. Hmmmmm....the buddy's friend says, huh.....well what the heck.  I took the week off to ice fish and relax.  So fish on this stranger's-buddy's, friend's, recommendation I shall!

This week has been pretty warm; in the 40s during the day and around or just below freezing at night.  I was happy to see I had "that many" inches of ice.  (1" increments were etched in my old hole-scoop; it broke)  I'd guess that's at least 6-7" which is plenty safe even in the warmer temperatures.  Now to drill holes based on the coordinates provided by...well, you've been reading.  You may be guessing how this will go.

I drilled more than 40 holes in this new pond.  I drilled near the landmark, set number of paces off the landmark, deep into two lobes where the pond juts off in directions; basically all over the pond.  I didn't catch my target species but I did get to increment my species caught and species caught through the ice by one.  Please welcome the Yellow Bass to the number of species I have caught freshwater fishing in my lifetime.

While pretty, the Yellows were also kind of tiny.  They did fight well for their size but after two hours, 40+ holes, and only two Yellows to show for my morning I decided to cut my losses and fish the nearby familiar lake where I'd learned about this little gem of a pond.  (can you feel the sarcasm?)

I traveled light to this lake.  It was warm and from what I learned the other day fishing I would need to be mobile and it was too warm for me to be stuck in my shelter.  My ultra-light custom ice rod, my fishing bucket that held my flasher, auger battery, jigs, larvae, and plastics, and my ION auger all were placed in my small Otter sled.

I found I could kick my holes open from the other day.  That will save me time.  I found my holes over five feet of water and dropped in a jig tipped with a waxie.

Bam!  I got a quick hit on my first drop.  A nice perch came up for a photo.  I wonder if...

Well, fish do school and look at that.  More than one nice perch from the same hole.  I wonder if I can do it again.  Nope.

I jigged up a crappie!  One of my favorites!  I wonder if there's anything else down this hole. There wasn't.  I had to go fish another hole; several actually.  What did I find in those holes?

A few hours of catching and I had my fix for the day.  I caught fish on both live maggots and artificial plastics.  I switched from live bait after I started catching more small bluegills than anything else.  The plastic I fished was the Trigger-X Moustache Worm.  It's like fishing a stick-worm wacky-style in concept; in practice it probably resembles some kind of bug.  The fact that the two, wispy tails cause the bait to sit horizontally makes it a large target. Most fish will think twice about the size of their mouths before attempting to tackle this bait and that was the idea.

Now while I don't recommend following every recommendation a stranger's-buddy's, friend makes regarding life choices fishing is another thing entirely.  All it took was the suggestion that this new pond held fish to push me over the edge to fish it.  I had been "Google Maps scouting" the pond for a while now.  I would have fished the new pond eventually but it took a recommendation from strangers-buddy's, friend and now that I've fished it I doubt I'll fish it again.

As for the Familiar Lake, I'll be back always looking for for more fun catching. More fun fishing, and more species diversity.  All fish got to swim away with nothing more than a cool lip-piercing and photo to show for their topside visit.  

I never did find that "crappie hole" as described by a guy I didn't know.  I didn't suspect I would.  I had to fish the New Pond for the same reason people climb mountains; because they are there, because they pose a challenge, a puzzle to unlock. I had to return to the Familiar Lake for the same reason.....and because there are fish in that lake.  Catching fish is ALWAYS more fun then searching for fish!