Saturday, February 11, 2012

Frenzy Before the Storm

    I can't really put a finger on when the local news media became the self appointed harbingers of doom and destruction rather than a non biased presenter of the facts, but it seems the general public has bought into all these sensational scare tactics to such a point that I've started looking about for the sheppard that is  leading the herd to slaughter.

    For the past few days the city has been abuzz with concerns over an approaching storm...WEATHER ALERT...WINTER STORM WATCH...WILL YOU SURVIVE?
The last time I checked... I was living in Canada, where we have four seasons, one of which is know the season that's not hot and the rain comes down white and fluffy. It must have been a slow news week for them to try and scare the shit out of Joe Public about going outside and living.

   Anyways...after the fact there's an inch and a half of snow on the back deck and the temperature is -13C (9F), a typical winter day from my youth and a catastrophic weather event for the 4wd SUV, GPS enabled, mall jogging, double decaf latte swilling, cell phone/ text addicted creatures of comfort we call urbanites. The storm of the year was merely a weather hiccup in an unusually mild winter. I have little hope for the future when surrounded by these pre-programmed clones with all the gadgetry and none of the skills to cope with mother nature, and it's not until I've left the confines of the city that I witness a return to common sense and good old fashioned morality.

   Chicken Little's prophesy couldn't keep Tackle Shop and I, or a multitude of others off the ice at Gilford on  Friday. We had a feeling the changing conditions might start a different type of frenzy before the storm below the ice...a feeding frenzy! We walked a mile out and found a spot in the no-man's-land nestled between two towns of different colored ice huts run by competing hut operators. The fact that no shots were fired over our heads during our stay would attest to the hot bite below our feet. It was one of those days where you chose your spot, drilled your hole, and stayed there until you'd had your fill.
    The wind's bone chilling intensity increased farther out from shore and helped us make a few decisions...TS used a portable hut for the first time this year and I was going strictly meat free, artificial baits only. We set up over 15 fow on 10 inches of solid blue ice and were rewarded immediately with non stop action or at least non stop for the guy using live minnows.

The usual suspects
   I started out using the sliver jigging spoon that worked so well last week, landing fish as fast as I could get it near the bottom, until after about 45 minutes when the bite suddenly stopped. The sonar showed the fish were still there but they were only interested in watching. I changed to a jigging Rapala minnow and the spectators went crazy again for another hour. This pattern continued throughout the day, changing lures every hour or so to keep the fish interested.  
   One thing I've learned through trial and error is that when you're actively searching for fish and covering a large area away from your sled and tackle bag, it's a good idea to carry a selection of baits with you in your pocket so you don't have to leave a fishy hole to re rig.
About the size of a pack of smokes when closed
    It turned out to be a fairly typical day on the big ice with the usual catch numbers 25 times that of the keepers. The commute home was surprisingly uneventful considering all the media inspired weather paranoia, I think a lot of workplaces let their employees out early to avoid the conditions.Already the network news readers are preparing us for the next weather assault, there were no deaths this time...but the future's uncertain. If you don't have to go out, stay at home...and if you do go out, stay away from the frozen lakes and rivers...they're unsafe and you'll die!


  1. Good times, John, good times!

  2. John
    For the ice fishing the spoon has to be my favorite. I really like the small size jerking up and down and most of the time you get the hit on the down fall. I do know your are set there ice fishing. Thanks for sharing

  3. Do your weather guessers up there have the "Extreme Weather Center"? Ours do although I'm not sure why. Nothing extreme in the weather out here.


  4. A mild winter all around... Nice to get it in before the "big" storm

  5. We were out Sat in the snow and blowing North wind over here in VT fishing a derby. It was brutal!!!! So much fun though. People think us ice fishing fanatics are crazy. Maybe we are!!!

  6. Man that looks like the coldest place on earth to me, I think i would take something for under the feet though,
    All the best,

  7. If hell is hot then you must be in antihell. I don't know how you do it. I get cold if I stand in front of the freezer to long.
    Oh by the way, The sky is falling!

    Tight lines and warm feet

  8. Way to say F the bull and show them who's boss. You should see people around here when it snows. You would think they have never driven in their life. Panic Stricken if you will. Your still alive, right? Right ? ;) Tight Lines