Thursday, December 30, 2010

Puslinch Part 2

 The first thing I need to say is that the new blades on the auger make it a pleasure to drill holes, and I drilled plenty this morning. My friend Tackle Shop and I returned to Puslinch Lake this morning with the expectation of hitting the local pike population fast and hard. As we walked out onto the lake, it became immediately clear that quite a few others had the same thing in mind as there were twice the number out there from two days before. The other main difference was the weather. The temperature was hovering around freezing with a lowering cloud cover and the threat of showers. All that said, as we walked into the crowd to the location that produced the other day, many of our neighbors had already iced a good catch, and the prospect of a productive day was looking good despite the weather.
Working the 14' Weedline

 This time out we decided to go with only a dozen 6"-7" chub minnows seeing as that's what worked the last time there. Big mistake. Everyone who were catching anything were using 2" shiners on tip-ups or deadsticks, but of course we didn't know that at the time and continued using chubzillas thinking bigger bait = bigger fish.

Catch of the Day
  So we continued on, one set line each with a 7" minnow, Pete jigging one of his favorites: a Storm 4" rubber pike, and me working a Lindy Chubby Darter. Over the next hour we moved several times, every so often the live minnows freaking out as if being chased, but no real action. At about this time I started taking a good hard look at the Lowrance and realized the bottom was alive with fish, but what kind? I downsized to one of my favorites from last year a 1" Halli jigging spoon with a single hook on a dropper chain, tipped with a powerbait honey grub. With this setup I was able to lure the fish off the bottom, but still no bites. Downsizing again to a micro jig and maggot combo I finally hit the mark and landed the first fish of the day, a scrappy 4" perch. If it was legal I probably would have been better off using it as bait!

 I could have stayed at home to catch 4" perch, or gone to Cooks Bay on Simcoe and get hundreds two to three times that size. We came to Puslinch for pike! After noon and another move Pete finally hooked into one, only to loose it at the hole.

 Meanwhile, with the temperature now above freezing and many vacant holes open, I started roaming over a large area, working each hole for a few minutes with a jigging Rapala minnow. So... when I'm over 100 yards away my tip up finally comes to life, the alarm bells alerting everyone within earshot to witness the mad dash  and headfirst slide to breathlessly retrieve... a slightly used 7" chub minnow. By this time it has become clear that smaller shiners were the go to bait for the day, not only because of the success others were having with them (40 pike by my count), but also because the fish lost on our set lines would have inhaled the smaller baits and only gotten away by biting through the line. Oh well, another lesson learned, but not a complete shut out.
Not so Cold Comfort
  One of the joys of ice fishing for me is that when things are slow, you can visit your neighbors and trade war stories. Seriously, fishermen out on the ice seem to be much more relaxed and friendly compared to their open water counterparts. Pete and I made friends with a couple locals: Nick and Dave who shared some fish stories, pictures and local info, most importantly the location of the nearest bait shop so we won't be stuck with the wrong offerings next time. We stayed out an hour after dark, guided back to the van by the lights from the Old Marina Restaurant, said our goodbyes to our new friends, loaded up the van and headed for home, surprisingly pleased considering our catch. Sometimes the trip is more important than the destination.

   Going to Puslinch and need bait? Check out: talltales bait & tackle in Cambridge.

1 comment:

  1. Great post man! Keep them coming. I am going out tomorrow so I will try to post something after.