Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Third Time's a Charm

 For the third time in a week I found myself walking out onto Puslinch Lake, this time accompanied by Tackle Shop and the Russian, confident the lessons learned from the previous outings were going to pay off big. Before hitting the lake, we dropped into Tall Tales Bait and Tackle in Cambridge, bought a size selection of emerald shiners, and chewed the fat with the knowledgeable and forthcoming owner/local fixture Pat Kirby (an avid fan of Red Fisher).

 The New Years weekend saw spring like, record temperatures and rain, followed by a flash freeze Sunday night. What we found when we got to the lake was a 500 acre skating rink, devoid of snow cover, slick as if the zamboni had just left, and as clear as a freshly cleaned window. Even though one of our party was prepared for these ice conditions with strap on cleats, the journey onto the ice proceeded slowly like a weird slapstick combination of Disney on Ice and the Keystone Cops. What I found most disconcerting was watching the bottom slowly fall away beneath my feet, to be replaced with lush weed beds and eventually the pitch black of deeper water. At this point, the Russian and I witnessed several pike spooked from their lairs by our progress, and it finally occurred to us that perhaps the ice conditions may prove to be more of a detriment to fishing other than limiting our mobility.

Clear, Black, and Cracked
 We finally arrived at the usual area to find only one other fisherman, so we had our pick of places to set up. I quickly drilled two holes over 14 fow (feet of water), put a 4" shiner on a quick strike rig for my tip up and two 2" shiners on my set line, and settled back waiting for the first strike. After 30 minutes of no action, I moved 20 feet over and set up again right along a clearly defined (and seen) weed edge in 10 fow.

 The move was an improvement but what turned out to be key was keeping a distance from the lines and unnecessary movements to a minimum. At my new location the wait for the first bite took no time at all. Minutes after getting the second line in position, the tip up signalled activity and in my haste to set the hook, did a slide to the hole that would have made Ricky Henderson proud! With ice conditions as they were, immediately after hooking the pike, you could follow the flight's progress from the bottom right up to the hole.
First of the Year
10" Perch
23" Pike
 Ok... so it wasn't huge (about 25"), but it's what we came for. After a lot of trial and even more errors, we'd finally figured this lake out, and now it was time to cash in. Ten minutes later the Russian pulled in a respectable 10" perch and a half hour later, another nice pike.

 At this point I'm going to talk about the concept of "the hot hole". Get your mind out of the gutter people, I'm talking ice fishing here. If you frequent iced over lakes with your friends, sooner or later you're going to witness the phenomenon where an individual can do no wrong and pull fish out all day long, while others fishing the same baits and tactics only a few feet away feel as invisible as an acne riddled, overweight teen at a junior high prom dance. Historically, I've usually been the wallflower, but this was my day and I wasn't moving until sundown!

 Just after noon, our new friends from the last trip, Dave & Nick, showed up. Dave covered a huge area for a few hours in search of the elusive schools of crappie and finally settled nearby, content to catch a few pike. Nick and his friend immediately set up right next to us, covering a larger area with their set lines, and ultimately providing more amusement as they wildly slid  from one active hole to another. Over the next few hours the action was sporadic but the trash talk was non stop.
The End of a Perfect Day
   I've caught hundreds of pike in my life but, strangely enough, I've never caught more than two in one day. This day on Puslinch Lake I managed 5 pike, two around 25", the rest hammerhandles around 18"-20", close to 20 fish lost due to poor hook sets, bite offs, and general inattentiveness. A perfect day indeed!  Now it's time to shift the focus north to Simcoe and it's deep water whitefish and lake trout while my confidence is high.
 I apologise for the soundtract of this video. Sometimes You Tube disallows a soundtrack for copyright reasons after upload and you have to replace it from their limited and (sickening) middle of the road library

 For more info on Puslinch Lake: http://www.thefishinguide.com/puslinch_lake_ON.shtml .
 And remember, for bait visit: Tall Tales Bait and Tackle in Cambridge

1 comment:

  1. seems like everything came together for you guy... third times a charm