I've been getting more and more into ice fishing. To a degree, out of necessity; This is the kind of winter that makes ice fishing kind of a necessity for those of us who
like need to be on the water every day. I am a fly fisherman, but first and foremost I am a fisherman. I am no purist. I fish green crabs with 3oz egg sinkers and conventional gear to catch tautog and porgy that I bring home, fillet, and eat. And I enjoy it.
I'm really starting to get into ice fishing. I just bought the first conventional outfit I've bought in six or seven years. It's shorter than most carp I catch. And an absolute blast to fight fish on! I still get to tie the things I'm fishing... mostly marabou and hair jigs. I got the new ice fishing outfit on Thursday, got some line on it, and went out immediately to give it a test. Fact: I had not yet caught anything other than two striped bass, on a hand-line no less, through the ice. Fact #2: I was so confident I wasn't going to catch anything I knowingly left my camera batteries at home and only had my phone to photograph anything I caught.
I went to a pond I had fished on Tuesday so I wouldn't have to cut brand new holes. It's also a place I know very well, I I had some pretty good ideas as to where fish should have been laid up. I fished two holes with no signs of life, then cut a third. I let it sit for just a minute or two while I was moving gear over to that side of the pond. My first drop was just a test of depth. I was about where I wanted to be. My second drop lasted about 35 seconds. A 16 inch largemouth intercepted my white marabou jig. I felt a little shudder and set the hook. After a pretty exciting battle on the short stick I got the fish's head through the hole. He popped off right in the hole, swam two circles around it, then swam back into the dark. Well, that was close. What would the next drop bring?
Four largemouth landed and three missed later I cut another hole a little to the side. I flashed a few fish there. By this time Noah had stopped by on the way to do some striper scouting, and I wanted him to get in on the action so I gave him run of the joint and went to cut another hole adjacent to a bed of grass. A few minutes later I had a nice largemouth through the ice. A good fish to end on
Today Noah and I explored some larger water, looking primarilly for crappie. We skunked. But I'm still into this. After the weekend I will probably be back out, figuring things out. Being able to catch any species of fish any time is something I strive to achieve. I can now say I've caught largemouth bass in January.