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Catch Anything This Weekend?
My father and most of his friends always have the same answer when somebody asks them, "how's the fishing?" They all reply, "the fishing is great, the catching isn't so good".
And they're right, fishing is great whether you catch anything or not. Catching fish definitely adds something to the experience, you feel like you've accomplished something, made some progress. However, catching nothing accomplishes something too. You learn what works and what doesn't. You learn who to fish with and who not to fish with. You learn where to fish and where not to fish.
I went fishing on both Saturday and Sunday mornings, at the same place, with different people.
Saturday morning I went fishing with father, one of his friends, and a few other guys/girls that we all know pretty well. We stopped at the Crossroads in Chestertown on the way up there for some bait, and I grabbed a delicious egg sandwich. We picked up two dozen icicles for bait.
My father and I stepped onto the ice at a little after 7:30am, and had 10 tip-ups and two jigging lines in the water by 8:00am. Almost immediately after setting up, we got a flag. It was my father's tip-up, so I brought the bait pail over and watched patiently as he set the hook and pulled a Large Mouth Bass up through the ice. A Large Mouth in January. Yay.
(As you can see from the photo, my wishes were granted. I got a bait pail and a pack basket for Christmas, as well as a pair of creepers.)
We got a couple more flags, and caught a few Perch before anybody else showed up. The rest of the crew got to the lake at about 9:00am, set everything up and joined in the fun. We continued to catch fish, while nobody else did. My father and I ended up landing four Perch, one Bass, one Pike, and one Smelt (on a jig stick).
The tip-ups that we caught the Perch on were set a few feet off the bottom, in 20-25 feet of water. I also had a few of my lines set a couple feet under the ice, hoping that a Trout would be cruising by and hammer it. I didn't have any luck with that.
Sunday we went to the same spot, with the same bait. I got there a little later on Sunday than I did on Saturday, and by the time I got there my dad was all set up. When we (my friend and I) walked out onto the ice my dad gave me the classic, "I've got good news and bad news".
The bad news was that his 30 year old Jiffy power auger would not run for more than a few seconds at a time, so he wasn't going to be cutting any holes for me. The good news was that there were a lot of holes leftover from the day before, and he had brought an ice chisel. So we started breaking up the few inches of ice covering the holes from Saturday so we could set our lines up.
On Sunday I got skunked. Didn't catch a thing. My father caught two Perch on tip-ups, and my friend caught two Perch on a jig stick. After conferring with some other fishermen in the parking lot afterwards, it seemed like our group got rather lucky compared to everyone else. It was pretty windy, and it didn't take much more than 15-20 minutes to turn a fresh-cut hole into this:
I set my tip-ups against the wind so that they don't get tripped by the breeze, yet still found myself shuffling over to five or six tip-ups throughout the day with no fish on the hook.
Did anybody else go ice fishing over the weekend? Have any luck?
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