Kirk Deeter 2/28/2013 Legendary bass pro Gary Klein once told me that fish tend to be a lot dumber than the angler at the other end of a long cast. That is no doubt true whether you’re zinging a drop-shot rig off a bass boat, […]
Month: February 2013
I love going in to tackle shops this time of year. I see the familiar faces of the guys in the shop, fishing buddies who are smiling more than they were last month when holiday bills were in our mailboxes. It’s a fun time of year when we start guessing when the striped bass will arrive, the mayflies will start to hatch, and when the ponds and lakes will turn over.
I’m there for the camaraderie for sure, but I’m also there for a purpose: to restock my depleted gear bags. I’ll take a poke through the rods and reels for sure, but for this visit I’m likely to head to other departments. I’ll check out a new pair of waders to replace my old ones that have more patches than material. They’re about due for an upgrade. Then I’ll check out the synthetic lines and the monofilament. I run some numbers to do the math about the difference between buying a bulk spool versus individual spools.
It goes without saying that I’ll pick up the usual suspects of hooks, snaps, swivels, hook hones. I’ll do some damage in the lure aisle, picking out some new plugs, lures, stick baits and soft plastics. Hook hones, split shot, and another plug bag are regular supplies as are floatant, strike indicators, and maybe a new fly line. I’m sure that as I wander through the aisles I’ll find some additional things. I always do.
Maybe this year I’ll get a new ball cap. I’ve only got about 20 of ‘em that are sun-bleached, blood stained, and coated with some dried fish scales, just like you.
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Andy Whitcomb 2/19/2013 You’ve done it. Landed a whopper. Not something merely for the frying pan; a true trophy fish. Now what? How are you going to remember this magnificent fish and accurately communicate the massive proportions to others? Anglers are more conservation-minded these days, […]
Kirk Deeter 2/13/2013 Nothing will “dampen” (and I mean that literally) the start of a fishing season quicker than jumping in an icy river and discovering that your waders leak. Large rips and tears are usually easy to identify. It’s those annoying pinholes that are […]
As bizarre as it may sound, not all significant others are as into fishing as you or me. When asked for dating advice, I always recommend letting them get to know the “real fishing you” early in the relationship.
I was fortunate because I met my wife on an electrofishing research project. I got to witness first hand her love of the water and fish. This does not necessarily translate to my same fanatical level of fishing with a rod and reel, but we have come to an understanding; she loves to accompany, even if just to read. A suggested wedding gift idea: his: a collection of lures, and hers: a novel and folding chair with a cup/rod holder. (Or vice versa!)
Still, not long ago I heard this question: “If I go fishing with you, will you sew with me?” Below was my response to consider, should you ever have to field a similar question.
“In a way, I already sew,” I began. “When I fish, I’m always trying to figure out a ‘pattern’ of fish behavior. If I am bass fishing, I might seek a weedy ‘patch.’ When fly-fishing I constantly have to ‘mend’ the line for the fly to drift convincingly. If I am fishing for catfish, I keep an eye on the float to make sure it is still ‘bobbin.’ And if I miss a fish, a ‘darn’ may even enter the conversation.”
Depending on your relationship, it may be wise to follow a response such as this with some chocolate covered strawberries, or you might have to keep warm in your ice fishing shanty.
Traditionally, Valentine’s Day has been known to cause friction in relationships. For example despite the name, it is not an excuse to go pike fishing at Valentine National Wildlife Refuge in Nebraska. However, a great Valentine’s Day gift is a gift of time together. Especially if that time can be outside, fishing.
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When you speak with most tournament ice anglers, they share stories of growing up in the ice belt, setting up tip-ups for pike, and sitting in a converted camper trailer with their fathers, grandfathers or uncles jigging and listening to fish tales. Although I did ice fish as a young child, my story is not quite the same. I certainly did not fish often enough as a child for it to play a major role in my current positions.
Growing up in the city of Sheboygan, heavily involved in Boy Scouts and church, I didn’t have a ton of time to “do nothing” and go fishing. In my family, weekends were a bit structured. We had a lot to fit into a weekend, or at least it seemed that way as a young boy. On Saturdays, we had scouting events or we did housework because we were busy doing scouting activities during the week. Each and every Sunday morning, we attended Sunday school and church, and we didn’t miss many Sundays, especially not for ice fishing.
Fortunately, my grandfather could persuade my dad into letting us go out with him now and then, usually just for a few hours, short enough so that we kids would not get cold and bored. With Grandpa, we would set up tip-ups and we would attempt to jig for pan fish. I recall a day on Elkhart Lake when we caught a nice Northern pike. I believe it was the same day there was a gentleman spearing carp next to a small outlet of the lake. It’s funny the things you remember from childhood events.
I remember a day on a lake near Montello, WI, with my grandfather and my great-great uncle. We set up not far from shore, and I learned I was entirely too impatient as a child to ice fish for pan fish. It makes me chuckle to remember watching my Great-Great Uncle Richard as he caught fish after fish, and unless you watched him closely, you would never know he was catching anything. He could set the hook, reel in the fish, unhook it, and slip it in the pail that he sat on in one smooth, quick movement. In the World Ice Fishing Championship, this is called sneaky catching; in 1988, it was just how Richard did it – no electronics, no gas auger, no fancy tungsten jigs or plastic baits. He had a 28” medium action rod, Schooley reel with the same line he had on for 10 years, a simple teardrop jig and a wax worm. He could have made the USA Ice Fishing Team, no doubt about it. Uncle Richard was GOOD! I learned that day that I could look down the holes and see the fish, not that it would help me to catch fish that day, but it was entertaining.
Fast forward to March of 2010 when my grandfather and I ventured onto Summit Lake in Wisconsin, hoping to find out what the crowd was catching. That day became one of the most successful and fun ice fishing memories I have shared with my grandpa. We caught nearly our limit of crappies sized just right for the frying pan. I have no doubt we would have caught the limit if given another hour or so. I still remember what it was that got them to bite (besides drilling 45-50 holes in a small area and jumping around from hole to hole). It was a chartreuse piece of plastic and a horizontal jig, simple and quite effective that day. We even got a sunburn.
As I look forward to my second World Ice Fishing Championship, I can’t help but reflect back and give thanks to Uncle Richard, my grandfather and my dad for making sure I had a little time on the ice and for planting that seed. We didn’t have the big converted camper, and we were not out every weekend, but the time we shared, the memories we made, and the little things I learned have added to my wonderful experiences on the ice.
Story by Jeff Kelm, member of the USA Ice Fishing Team competing in the upcoming World Ice Fishing Championship in Wausau, Wisconsin.