Tuesday, February 2, 2010

A Pile of Panfish

Omens of positive change can appear out of nowhere.  Last Wednesday night I flew to Denver on the 7:15PM flight out of Minneapolis.  Averaging over 30,000 miles per year, one hits the paltry Silver Elite Status at 25,000 miles per year which for the most part gives you a few extra benefits over least traveled passengers such as preferred seat selection, free baggage check in, bonus miles for each flown, and the occasional upgrade to first class.  The upgrades to first class are the grand prize however with so many people having Gold or Platinum status giving them priority,  us Silver guys generally do not stand a chance.  Well taking my seat in coach, I had an acceptable location, aisle-exit row when an announcement for David Anderson to please push the attendant button.  Quickly locating me, I was told to get my stuff, you are going to the east side!  First Class flying is a pure joy.  Free drinks, tons of room, unlimited snacks, first off, the only way to fly.   Generally speaking, online check in 24 hours before your flight increases your odds of getting that magical upgrade.  This has been an issue for me for the last 13 months as I was put on a Terrorist Watch List by the TSA and had to check in at the airport.  After about 6 months of dealing with the TSA and the airlines, I think that I have been vindicated!   The merger of Northwest and Delta had not helped the matter either.  Off the watch list, I am able to check in on line again, hopefully increasing the odds of being reassigned to the front.  Well, coming home late Friday, I checked in online earlier in the day and was lucky enough to get upgraded to First Class again for the return flight.  I knew fishing just had to be good this weekend!

I decided to meet my good friend Russ Clos on Saturday, who was fishing in a wheel house with his friend on a nearby local lake.  Russ and I experienced great fishing last year and had remembered where the "hot spot" was located.  Russ had sent a text message..........Bring beer and bait!  Obliging, I stopped to fulfill both requests before hitting the ice.  Arriving about 3:00, I found the boys exactly where I suspected and delivered the goods.  After about 5 hours they had around 7 fish with a couple dandy sunnies.  I like to spread out and proceeded to set up my portable about 60 feet away as we were on a pretty expansive flat.  My secret weapon for panfish is a simple pole with a spring bobber set up made by Schooley's.  Once one understands what the spring bobber is telling you, your success increases by a huge factor.  In addition I have made a custom rod with a Schooley's spring bobber attached to the end of the pole and a spinning reel for faster cycling of the bite.  Starting with a Purist lure, it fooled a few fish however they were pretty finicky.  Switching to a waxie proved more productive, enough to use up one container causing me to retrieve the frozen ones still in the truck from last week.  Didn't seem to make a difference, they loved them.   The first hour produced only a couple of fish with the largest being about an 8 inch sunfish.   With about 6 fish on the ice and another 20 released, they finally put the feedbag on around 4:30.  The day with a limit of sunnies (20) averaging close to 8 inches and the largest a tad over 8 1/2 inches, as well 5 nice crappies with the largest at 11 inches.  I would have to admit this was the best ice fishing for sunfish I have experienced in the 34 years I have lived in Minnesota.  I have caught as many but the average size has been less than desirable.  The crappies did not show up until after the sun went down and a total of 5 were all that expressed an interest.  As with the sunnies,  I was impressed with the size considering local lakes can be challenging.   The other interesting observation was the number of large sunfish that bit after dusk.  Generally speaking this is the realm of the crappie yet my last 4 sunnies were caught in the dark.  Go figure.  

This weekend is a make up snowmobile day with a few business friends, we will ride on Friday, returning on Saturday.  I am really looking forward to this as I do not get a chance to ride much these days.  Past years would see us going to The Snowy Range in Wyoming romping around the mountains at 10,000 feet.   My travel schedule has prevented a return for the last 2 years.  I have some great stories and pictures of those trips which would make a few great posts in the future.  Sunday is my neighbor Tim's annual Super Bowl get together, one of the larger neighborhood events of the year.  With a little luck maybe I can sneak out in the afternoon to see if the bite is still going before heading over to the game.  Speaking of luck, I also picked the Saints to be victorious for Sunday's big game.  Liking the underdog, I believe they will carry through the tough defense of their last playoff game with the Vikings.  First Class both ways, a great day of fishing on Saturday.............yeah California and Colorado, I might be unstoppable!


Anonymous said...

Walleyes around here haven't been to interested in biting so I've been on the panfish hunt as well.
Crappies have been cooperating but the sunnies are eluding me.....for now.

Hard to beat crappies/sunnies in the skillet.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot to proof read. It's "too" not "to".

Anonymous said...

Nice fish captain Dave I too found the bite on Sunday with 25 sunnies and crappies with the crappies 11 and the sunnies 7 to 8 but I was using secret stuff


see ya later buddy

Dave Anderson said...


Us fishermen understand the language! Kevin is my friend from back home an is probably the best pan fisherman I know.

Kev, stopped at Alma and loaded up on a bunch of the secret stuff on Sunday!

Dewey said...

Smile Dave.......