I hope all your Christmas wishes were granted , if not on the day itself, then at the Boxing Day sales. The week leading up to the big event found me researching the web, looking for just that perfect thing: a fresh location to kick off the ice fishing season. After pouring over countless ice reports on several local message boards, the search was narrowed down to the Guelph area, just west of Toronto, where the ratio of ice thickness to pike caught made this the place to start. So after the mandatory Boxing Day pilgrimage to Bass Pro Shops, the rest of the day was spent in preparation, charging batteries, checking line and tackle, and generally trying to be prepared for any possibility.
Yesterday started with the phone ringing nearly an hour before my alarm clock On the other end of the line the Russian was asking if I was ready to go. Needless to say I thought I was,and scrambled out the door to meet him 10 minutes later on the side of the road. As an omen of things to come, I spilled half an XL Tim Horton's double double (for non Canadians - a very large coffee) in my lap on the drive to the lake and joked that the way the day was starting out I might be going for a swim..
Observing proper ice fishing etiquette and keeping our distance from the main group, the first hole drilled found only a foot of water under the ice. We moved a few hundred yards farther out and when it came time to drill again the auger refused to bite and just skidded across the ice. Did I mention I was prepared for anything? I had everything I needed for the whole hard water season except for my carbide sharpening tool! We were up the proverbial frozen creek without an operational auger.
So... after borrowing an auger from our neighbors and punching a few holes each, we settled into what would be a long wait for the first bite. After an hour of non stop nothing and our neighbors landing 3 hammer handles in less than five minutes, I decided it was time to go for a walk and see what their secret was. Puslinch is a shallow weedy lake that averages only 5' deep, and another move of only a few hundred feet put us over 12 feet of water, and more importantly, fish.
We borrowed another auger, drilled a couple holes each, and before the Russian could set up his second line, his first rod was making a desperate attempt at disappearing down the hole. After a few good runs, the Russian finally lifted his first catch of the hard water season, a fat 25" pike.
|First Ice Pike of the Year|
We both had a few more bites but didn't land any more fish. Our fingers and faces were frozen from a severe wind chill, and as the sun started it's descent to the horizon, it was decided to pack it in and call it a day, both satisfied with the day's experience on a new lake. I'm already planning the next outing and am going out to get new blades for the auger as soon as I'm finished with this. I know there will be plenty of fish over the next few weeks, but I can't help but wonder when or if I'm going for that surprise swim.