Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tackle Box Time Machine

  Have you ever been asked what you would do, or when/where you'd go if supplied with a time machine? Sure you have, and you've probably discussed the topic extensively. It's human nature to try and control our environment and the opportunity to change the present by affecting the past has been a dream for millenia. Whether to witness the marvels of the past or to right some wrongs, just about everyone would accept the challenge.

  Walking with dinosaurs sounds delusional,  if possible it would more likely be fleeing from dinosaurs. Witnessing the building of the pyramids would probably result in a "request" to help. and stopping (or possibly starting) a global genocide may seem noble but highly impractical for a common individual.

  Of course you know I'm already a time traveler, it's just that my travels are of the forward persuasion, one day at a time. If given the chance to travel the opposite direction, my needs would be comparably simple; one day back...and the time machine itself, light weight and compact enough to fit...lets say... in a tackle box. I don't want to give the impression that I'm not curious about the past, it's just that I've been told far too often "You should have been here yesterday".

  On the topic of time...Monday marked the latest date in my personal history to get out fishing in the New Year, and to celebrate the event Tackle Shop and I rearranged the alignment of the planets and made a reservation for the next day with Lake Simcoe's yeller bellies.
  Overnight flurries played havoc with pre-dawn rushhour traffic, and the normal 45 minute trip to Gilford took twice as long. We were met at the lake by Rob, operator of Gilford Yellow Huts, and he taxied us out to one of his rental ice huts situated over 20 feet of water a mile and a half from shore.
  As always, the first thing to go into the water is the transducer to the fish finder, followed by our "go to" ice fishing bait, a silver Slab Grabber with a chartreuse bead. It's an amazing lure that, with a little practice, you can make it glide away from the hole at a 45 degree angle or a side over side roll.
  On the first drop, a school of perch could be seen on the screen, charging off the bottom to meet the fluttering spoon , only to follow it down to the bottom and proceeded to stare at it like a swarm of penny less window shoppers. No amount of erratic jigging or deadsticking could elicit more than an occasional bump. It didn't take long for us to cycle through all the proven perch lures with only a handful of dinks to show for the effort.

  Now was the time to break out all those flies I'd tied specifically for a slow perch bite! What ensued was reminiscent of that Goldilocks story with a lot of too much of this and too much of that. Let me explain.
  This one had a great swimming motion with a subtle jigging action, slowly moving ahead with the tail fluttering up and down, but ended up scaring the wary perch with it's size and movement.
  Like the previous fly, this one had great fluttering movement, but didn't have enough weight to keep 20' of 4lb braid tight enough to feel the bite.
   This one came to life once submerged, but again, not weighted enough and too imposing in size. I should say here that I've never been a fan of adding extra weight to ice jigs as it throws off the balance and feel and frequently, when sight fishing, you can see the fish biting the added weight instead of the lure. I suppose that's a sign it's time to downsize.
    Attracted a lot of interest, but again too light. 
  I caught a few with these. Their weight forward design allowed them to dive head first and at 1.5" in length, proved to be a nice snack that bit back.
 Being the dumb old f*** that I am,  I completely forgot to bring these.

  So...after my tale of woe, you'd assume it was a tough day on the hard water with about 75 fish landed and only 4 "keepers" between the two of us in an 8 hour period. This was not the case for the six others that accompanied us in the sled back to shore as they each had 30lb buckets full of yeller bellies, mostly caught at sunrise! "You should have been here earlier"

I joke, of course. It was refreshing to finally get out.  


  1. John I would say you had the shop with you. The one you left behind.....
    That looks like the one I used yesterday only a different color.
    Looks cold up there.

    1. Thanks Alan
      All the terminal tackle I need for winter perch fits in one pocket.
      It was a grey day but the temperature was a degree below freezing.

  2. Great looking ice flies. I really like the concept of the one that moves away from the hole at a 45 degree angle.

    1. Thanks Justin.
      As usual the Slab Grabber was the top producer. The 45 deg. drop can cause lots of tangles with others if you don't pay attention, and it's slow descent is not my favorite during a hot bite where constantly keeping a bait near bottom is key to keeping the school under you.

  3. If I had any doubt in my mind that perhaps I had found someone a little crazier than me, all doubt has been removed. That being said, I do love perch.

  4. Thanks Howard???
    It's been over a year since my last perch chow down.

  5. I quite like the weight forward jigs, I use something quite similar ice fishing for white perch.

    1. Thanks Ben.
      Making them kept me "sane" while waiting for safe ice.