Sunday, February 27, 2011

Dude, Where's Your Rod Case?

 Saturday has come and gone for another week and traveling to the Cambridge area for ice fishing has quickly becoming routine...except this week. Let me explain.

 Late last week my internal clock got royally scewed up. I'd only gotten 2 hours sleep leading up to my last shift of the week, so when Tackle Shop surprised me by picking me up at the factory at 8am I'd already been awake for 20hrs. We had breakfast and hit a few tackle shops on the way home, which for me is the perfect way to start a weekend, but by noon I was a drooling idiot without the good sense to go to bed. I'M AWAKE! It was 10pm when I finally did wake up with nowhere to go and nothing to do other than catch up on what's been happening in the blogospere. I stayed up all night, went fishing in the morning, and once again put in over 20 hrs before passing out. Which takes me up to now, writing this at 8am. when I should be sleeping.
Tackle Shop's son Sid the Kid

 Yesterday morning was full of surprises. Tackle Shop's son, I'll call him Sid The Kid (just to piss him off for not supplying an on-line nickname) finally accepted the weekly invitation to join us. Sid has only joined us 5 or 6 times in the 7yrs. I've been fishing with TS, and never out on a frozen lake so I had mixed emotions as he loaded his hockey equipment into the van. We picked up Dodger and made the short and uneventful trip back out to Cambridge and Little Lake.

  My sled comes out of the back of the van first and I immediately began to suit up and check my equipment.When I was all ready to walk out, TS was still struggling to remove hooks from a seatbelt and I'm standing there wondering why he didn't put his rods in their case. I asked TS "where's your rod case", meaning... why don't you put your rods in the case to prevent tangling and breakage. That's when the bomb dropped. TS's rod case was nowhere to be seen in the sled or in the van. The only thing we could figure is that it fell out of his sled as we were walking back to the van last Sunday evening. Inside the case there were 5 rods and at least 3 reels. The exact extent of the loss is not immediately known due to the vast amount of equipment regularly transported, thus the nickname "Tackle Shop", but a ballpark figure puts the loss at well over $300. Needless to say there is a reward for the return of the case and contents, and anyone who might have found it and may be reading this can leave a personal message to arrange the return.
Dodger's 1st Hardwater Bass

  OK... so there's already a damper on what should be a relaxing day, but we're there and there's still enough rods to go around so we might as well make the most of the situation, try to forget about our problems and catch some fish. Sid's watching the preparations as he's lacing  up the skates, Dodger and I are rigging one set line each with large shiners for pike and jigging with maggots on our other rods for panfish, while TS has two set lines patiently waiting for the big boys to come for dinner. Dodger draws first blood with a beautiful 10' largemouth bass. He's overjoyed and I'm jealous. I make up for his quality with quantity, quickly catching and releasing dozens of small pumpkinseed, bluegill and perch. Wow, I'm really impressed on how well maggots work on these guys, I can hardly wait to try them on lockjaw jumbos on Simcoe!

 An hour later Sid's stick handling laps on the bike track, TS is still patiently awaiting dinner guests and obviously thinking too much, Dodger's into the sunfish, and I'm starting to hole hop and generally having a blast slaying the panfish. All of a sudden there's an unusual weight on my line and after a brief fight I'm holding my first ever bass on ice!  Ten minutes later and I've caught a second larger bass, and it's then that I realize this day, regardless of the earlier hardships, is one to go into my personal record book for variety of species caught through the ice.

Small but not Crappie
  Eventually the novelty of skating laps on a frozen lake has worn off for Sid so he trades the skates for boots and helps the others relocate to the far end of the lake. Fortunately for Dodger and TS the novelty of using the auger hadn't worn off yet. I'd gotten it into my head to try and up my tally by searching for crappie in deeper water. While working a deep school my tipup finally shows activity and I get a large pike up into the hole only to have the line separate as I made a wild grab at the fish.  I did manage to ice some small crappies, upped my personal best to 5 species and wandered over to the group, mission accomplished and ready to leave any time.This was not to be. TS, down in the dumps more than ever had yet to get a single bite despite having his bait surrounded according to the sonar

 Eventually we worked our way back to the origional spot and TS's patience finally pays off with a strike on one of his set lines, unfortunately the fish escapes from the hook set. Minutes later my set line comes to life but the fish let go as I approached the hole. As we're packing up to leave, Dodger finally hooks into and lands our first and only pike of the day, a whopping 12" fish.

 It occurred to me as we were walking off the lake that that pike was Dodgers fifth species of the day also, he's too modest to say anything about it.

 So... a banner day for some, a chance for outdoor entertainment for others, and a day of loss for another. Definitely a day of surprises.


  1. A few nice fish there John, I like the footage as well, Allways good to see the odd one going back,

  2. Congratulations, John, on a fine day on the ice. That sure is a fat Bass. Never landed one through the ice before out my way. Hope TS has some luck on recovery of his equipment.

  3. Your comments are greatly appreciated Paddy & Mel. I assure you no fish were harmed in the writing of this post... except baitfish.
    In Ontario bass season is closed from Nov to late June.

  4. Oh, to be able to do a couple of 20hour days in a row. Haven't been able in years. If I don't get my
    8, I'm too ugly to be around. Sorry about TS's rod case. That has to hurt.


  5. Too bad about the equipment loss.
    If not for that...a fun day indeed.

    Hope you caught up on your sleeep!

  6. John, I'm still new to the game, soory it took so long to visit your site. Great blog, but even better stashes.