Monday, December 4, 2017

Better Late Than Never

Phoenix from the plane
It has been a whirl wind of events in the last 5 days.  Last Wednesday thru Friday was spent in warm Phoenix Arizona for our annual fall TTA meeting at the Scottsdale Resort at McCormick Ranch.  It was very nice there although there was little time to do anything interesting and little water to plan a fishing trip with my friends like previous years.  It was interesting as the weather was somewhat cooler than normal in Scottsdale and back home the weather was warmer than normal however we had a number of interesting speakers and learning sessions.  The most interesting topic came on Friday morning when the gentleman from ITR gave his annual economic forecast and it certainly didn't look good for 2030.  Hopefully I will be retired by then!  Phoenix is quite dry and unless you are on a golf course or irrigated farm land it pretty brown.  Some people claim the bass fishing is quite good in some of the reservoirs however when I travel my intent is to fish for something I cannot catch in my backyard, like last year's Goliath Grouper.  In March we have our annual APEC conference in San Antonio, TX and we were talking about seeing if we can get back to the fish camp in Cameron, Louisiana.  Now that was a fabulous trip and amongst our friends, we all would love to get back there to catch some nice redfish, I guess we will have to see if we can get our friend Joe to set it up again.

Pistol gripped Ice Rod
As stated last week, myself and neighbor Lory headed to the Ice Fishing show on Sunday.  It was packed but is well worth the time and effort to spend it with the various vendors and resorts.  One area that caught my eye was ice fishing in Door County, Wisconsin in March for both large walleyes staging to spawn and also fish whitefish in the deeper waters.  I really enjoy catching tullibee in Mille Lacs, which are technically cisco's, a member of the whitefish family.  Lake whitefish are larger yet share the same traits of following your bait and fighting hard. I'll start thinking about this after the first of the year.  In the meantime I did buy some things for this years upcoming ice fishing season.  First it was an unusual ice rod with a molded handle.  It is an interesting pistol grip which affords you to hold the rod in a more natural position for your hand and arm, thus minimizing the fatigue. It feels really good and I am anxious to catch some Red Lake walleyes with this!  The other thing I bought was a pop up Eskimo insulated portable fish house, I call them hub styles.  My ground blind I use for deer hunting is made the same way, the frame is attached to a center connection point then one simply pops it out to set up.  Years ago I had bought one from Cabela's which included a sled, hand auger, the fish house, a couple of collapsable chairs and a cover for the whole thing for about $150 on clearance. I liked it however it was not built very good and after a couple of years it broke.  I told this to the guy at the show about it and he wanted to take care of me however I suggested that it was a cheap house to begin with.  I like these houses as they are fairly light, can fit inside the back of my truck very easily, big enough for 2 or 3 guys, don't take much to heat, and the quality of the frame systems looks much improved.  They had a lot of dealers selling them at the show however at this late time, no one had the one I wanted in stock.  The Eskimo guy new just what to do for me.  Normally the model I was looking at was $329.  Reeds had it in at the show for $289.  The Eskimo guy brought me to the Cabela's booth where they were simply price matching plus a discount so they signed me up for the same thing for $232, however I needed to pick it up by 7:00 at the store near my house.  Lory and I left the show and headed for the store where they gave me an extra $30 off so I ended up buying it for $202, not a bad deal at all!  I had enough Cabela points so I paid it from there, no cash out of my pocket!  While looking at some stuff my friend Ben Aiona spotted us and said hi.  His dad Kevin, my great friend from Eleva, was on his way up so we hoped we would meet him, eventually we did.  Both Lory and I had a great time, I bought a few things, got to talk to a few guys, including the owner of Vexilar, that was quite interesting.  Tom Zenanko was in the booth and I was telling him that our company was instrumental in getting his Clear Water Classic to market via designing the output transformer that drives the transducer, we ended up making 15,000 before it went to China.  It was a good conversation.

South Shore of Red Lake via JR's, lots of open water!
Well Red Lake has went backwards the last 2 weeks with the warm weather raising chaos with the ice conditions up there.  3 weeks ago it looked like we were in for an early season and I would be dragging my wheel house to JR's this coming weekend.  The opposite happened and the ice conditions deteriorated as the warm weather took it's toll.  Last weekend a young couple drove their ATV into the water and they along with their ATV were eventually found at the bottom of the lake. Sorry but I know things happen however this early in the season, there is no excuse for recklessness.  If you are going to venture on questionable ice at least wear a life jacket and have some ice picks with you.  There is no fish worth dying for.  I will simply leave it at that.  The good news is, after today the temperatures will plunge into the single to below zero range at night with highs in the mid teens during the day..........cold enough to start making an inch a day of good ice.  It is supposed to snow there and that will not help anything yet I predict that by December 16th things will be in full swing as I will haul my wheel house up for that weekend and get ready for the week after Christmas.

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