Friday, February 13, 2015

Last Minute Invite

Nice Collection of Fish
After picking up my friend Lory Brasel at the airport on Friday night as he was returning from China, we decided to stop at our neighbor Tim's to have a cocktail before dropping him off at his house.  My other neighbor Pete showed up and after a couple of hours we decided to go ice fishing on Saturday, sometime after noon.  Finally getting to bed and waking up around 9:00, it was time to get a few things done before we took off.  At 11:00 I got a call from my other Pete friend and the message was clear, I got a hot tip on a spot they are getting 12 inch crappies and 9 1/2 inch sunnies, be at my house a noon.  Now what??? My neighbor Pete and I had plans but my friend Pete was a very good friend of Dave Genz, legendary ice fisherman had a pretty good offer, one I may never get again.  In the meantime neighbor Pete just sent me a text, are you ready to go?  Damned if you do and damned if you don't.  Neighbor Pete would probably understand my dilemma so I confessed that I had a better offer and then followed up with a call declaring I am going to stand him up, this was once in a winter opportunity.  The other problem was that I was sworn to secrecy as these spots are held very sacred.  As I expected neighbor Pete said, take advantage and by noon I was in Monticello.  It was a 2 hour drive at 75 miles per hour we were drilling holes by 2:30 and fishing 5 minutes later.  Within 5 minutes I pulled up a 12 inch crappie, the biggest crappie I had caught in years.  A minute later another come came up through my hole.....holy moly!!!  The fish were biting very light and after a couple of easy fish it became more challenging.  Sometimes that's half the fun, figuring out what one needs to do to make the adjustment.  We were fishing from 11 to 14 feet and most of what we caught were coming from the deeper water.  A couple of guys were fishing close to us and they fished in that 11 foot area and started to pile the fish on the ice.  My Clam was set up in 11 feet and I decided to see if I could convince a few to hit my lure, nothing.  Time for Plan B as I got out the Aqua Vu and dropped the camera down.  There they were, 11 - 12 inch crappies, 9 - 9 1/2 inch sunnies swimming by, inhaling my bite yet you could not ever feel or sense them.  Like the previous week the camera gave me the feedback I needed as I stopped working my line but rather simply checked the screen and when a fish inhaled the bait, I set the hook.  This was a huge advantage as I put another 5 nice crappies on the ice and 5 beautiful sunfish.  One problem was that my lure's hook size was too small. Normally I like a #6 hook for crappies but my lure had a #10, a little small which resulted in every other fish I hooked came off at the top of the hole.  The action was so good that I simply didn't have time to change, a big mistake as I lost over 7 nice crappies that came unhooked.  It was pretty obvious who had the advantage, my camera made the difference as Pete only has 3 nice crappies to my 7.  Combined we had 10 crappies, 8 sunnies, and as many that got off, a pretty good afternoon.  As darkness approached the bite slowed and at 6:00 we headed out.   It was interesting, drive 5 hours to fish for 4 hours, it was the best crappie fishing I have had in years.  On the way home I stopped by neighbor Pete's and he seemed to be both impressed and not upset with me....that was a relief.  I am not sure I will get back there soon but it certainly was fun.

Santa Barbara Harbor Sunset.
This weeks post is late because I was in California till Friday morning and forget my adapter to transfer last weeks fish pictures to finish this post.  It was a whirlwind trip as I left on Monday morning landing at LAX around 11:30 AM before getting picked up by our West Coast Salesman, Shahab as we headed north to both Agoura Hills then on to Santa Barbara.  Both are beautiful areas as we decided that when once our business for the day was done, we'd have dinner on the Santa Barbara Pier for a little seafood.  With allergies to shellfish, I had the snapper on a bead of rice, unfortunately I wasn't impressed.  Maybe it was the way it was cooked but it just didn't have much flavor.  On Tuesday night we at with the boys from Triad and the menu items were much better with the exception of the raw oysters.  At $3.00 each they were pretty small and tasted old, yuck.   I had the grilled tuna and it was fabulous but as what seems to be in style, was served on a bead of rice. Not bad and the company was pretty good so no complaints.  Wednesday night saw me being accompanied by my good friends at Micrometals and Rubadue as we ate at the Orange County Mining Company.  A spectacular view of Orange County, it was time for a steak, pretty good! Thursday was pack up night as my good friend Mike Schubert and I, along with Shahab packed up our booth as we were done with the show.  Shahab headed south while we stopped by Mike's house to change, had a beer at one of the local watering holes, visited the American Legion where Mike is the Adjutant and downed another refreshment before heading over to our traditional hang out, Longboards.  My flight was the Red eye leaving at 1:00 in the morning and arriving at 6:30 in Minneapolis. I never sleep very well on airplanes but after being up for 20 hours the next thing I knew we were landing!  It was at least 85 degrees each day, a far cry from the -10F temperatures we have had in Minnesota, so it was pretty nice.  It was nice to see everyone but all good things had to end.

Looking forward to maybe getting out on Sunday to catch some fish.  We have a big deal going on for Valentines day at the neighbor's as Tim is cooking a big prime rib and the gals are bringing the rest of the courses.  Off to get a little sleep and figure out the rest of the weekend.