Sunday, February 28, 2010

One Last Day on the Ice

After a whirlwind month of February, I thought I would give my favorite panfish lake a try before I head to the hospital on Monday morning.  Seeing my neighbor Tom Olson working on his car, I stopped to see if he would be interested in riding shotgun.  It was a gorgeous day, in the mid 30's, the sun shining, an offer he could not refuse.  Agreeing to pick him up at 3:00, it would give us a nice 3 hours of fishing.  Deciding to fish outside kept the non value activities to a minimum.  First stop was the hardware store in St. Michael as along with the desired bait they serve free popcorn.  The nice day had the lake pretty crowded, as I expected.  I think people tend to naturally bunch up on lakes, assuming where there are people, there are fish.  Although this might true some of the time, I find it much more successful being away from the crowd, looking for my own unique special area.   It is especially true on this lake.  Arriving at my destination I drilled about 8 holes around the truck.  The bite started slow with Tom nailing the first 2 keeper sunnies including this nice 8 1/2 incher.  For me it took somewhat longer to get in the swing of things but I finally found the groove. 

Waxies were the hot bait for the day.  I did try a few purists and suspect if I had stayed with them would have done well however the hook sets were not as good a standard teardrop with the waxie.  About 4:30 the action really picked up.  Going through a box of bait in a half hour I was glad Tom picked up that third box.  The bite was soft but consistent.  Plenty of small fish were caught however about every fourth one felt like a hog.  I missed many fish that felt they could have easily been a new world record, however that was wishful thinking.  I did get this dandy 9 1/2 incher, a excellent fish anywhere.  When you bring a nice sunfish like this through the hole, it looks enormous.  Measuring it at home makes one realize just how big those 11 inch sunfish pictured on MT Bucket's blog really are.   Tom had a couple of crappies early but they really didn't start hitting until about 6:00.   After getting a couple on the teardrop it was time to try a new bait that my friend Kevin Aiona had given me for my birthday, a Lil' Cecil.  Not sold in the Minneapolis area, he picked them up in Eau Claire.  They are a very small metal spoon with a split ring attaching a very small treble hook dressed with a bead, with a thin metal flapper on the split ring.  The flash factor is incredible.  It didn't take long for a crappie to inhale the bait.  With the treble hooks there was no missing these fish.  I like watching crappies on my depth finder as they often act like aggressive walleyes, appearing out of nowhere or coming up from the bottom in a dead run to the bait.  Originally sceptical that a crappie would hit a plain metal bait, Kevin proved his value as a friend again.  I think the Lil" Cecil has a new priority in my extensive arsenal! 

Together we ended up with over 20 sunnies and about 12 crappies.  It was a great day on the ice for sure.  Actually the entire day was great.  Being outdoors is one of my favorite things in life.  As I was inviting Tom fishing this morning a Bald Eagle flew very low directly over us.  Heading to the Mississippi River I pointed out a nest high in the trees rising from the shore,easily seen from his house.  The eagle made a beeline for the nest before landing, assuring it will be a frequent sight this summer.  While on the ice a familiar high pitched honk signaled a large swan was near.  Sure enough a single Trumpeter Swan flew directly overhead, gracefully heading to some unknown destination.  The day ended with this stunning full moon rising over the trees, introducing the evening.  The day turned into a constant reminder of how beautiful the natural world is.  Monday morning is my scheduled surgery, however I look forward to a speedy recovery and the opportunity to get back out and enjoy the great outdoors.  My surgeon claims that I will be confined to the hospital for 5 - 7 days.  With a little luck I could be home by Sunday, March 7th and will post a complete update or it could take a couple of weeks, time will tell. Having lot's of good stories about past fishing trips, I should have enough material to keep it interesting till I can get back out on the water (or hopefully ice!).  


Hack said...

Good luck on the surgery, Dave. Hope to see you back on your feet real soon!

NeenahPete said...

Dave - Glad you're having that fixed. By now you've had your surgery so I hope it went better than expected and you're on your way to a speedy recovery. Let us all know how you're doing! - Pete

Westin said...


Hope you doing well. We'll see ya soon. Tell Lyn that Rocky (the #$*@ cat) misses her.