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Showing posts from January, 2014

No Sled

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I don't use a sled for ice fishing.  First off I don't carry a lot of gear when I go ice fishing, I sold off my vexilar, camera, gas auger, and shanty years ago.  Just didn't need it.  All that stuff just slowed me down when I was trying to move to find the fish.  Never been one of those drill a hole and let the fish come to me kind of guys.  So what do I use to take out my bucket and hand auger?A harness, a barrel harness.  As a lot of people know I am a shorebound angler.  I am also an avid canoe and kayaker.  Why not just fish from the canoe and kayak?  Well most of the time when I want to go fishing I have no interest in loading up the canoe.  For that matter I don't really enjoy unloading the kayak either.  I like to paddle, just don't like all the prep.  So now that I have wandered off topic, what is a barrel harness?  When canoeing you need a waterproof container to store food or clothes in.  The barrel seals up water tight and takes one hell of a beating.  …

Ice Fishing with Friends

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My buddy Pat invited me out ice fishing on Sunday.  He was going to Squaw Bay on Lake Monona with his friend Brian and son Lee.  Now let me give you a little bit of back story.  Pat and I have a history of ice fishing.  We always have a lot of fun, but to be honest we don't catch many fish together.  The fishing is always eventful.  Lost skimmers, freezing temps, puking kids, just not lots of actual fish.
As we headed out on the ice we knew we were in for a tough bite.  Middle of the day ice fishing can be really slow.  Plus being on a heavily pressured metropolitan lake didn't help our chances.  As Brian started drilling the ice, Lee took to cleaning out the holes.  Now for those of you that don't regularly take kids fishing.  Cleaning out the holes with a skimmer just may be the most fun thing you can do on the ice. The weather was overcast, but at least the wind was calm.  This time of year the bluegills seem to get rather finicky.  We targeted shallow weed to mud transi…

Wading the Wisconsin River, Chasing Smallies

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It is really cold outside, like -13 degrees.  I am stuck inside, hanging with my kiddos.  As I wander through photos and memories, I am reminded of so many great times casting a line.  Musky fishing, pike fishing, chasing summer catfish.  Lots of stories for sure, but one stands out as my first real adventure.
It was mid summer and the heat and humidity was making everybody suffer.  Hanging out at a little pond near my house my coworker said "We should drive to Portage and fish the river".  He was so nonchalant about it that I almost ignored it.  "My dad has a place right on the river" he said.  "We could wade out by the island and catch some smallmouth bass".  I thought this sounded great, I had never fished for smallmouth.  He assured me that they fought like tanks.  Tough stocky river fish, the kind of fishing I had seen on tv.  So we loaded up the jeep and headed north. Now I had never waded before so I must admit, I was a little nervous as we pulled in…

Ice Rod Bucket Holder

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I like to keep things simple on the ice.  It is already cold and I don't need anything overly complicated when I am out there.  Now as we all know, occasionally you need to set down a rod.  Maybe you want to tie another jig on the line?  Perhaps you need to put on another layer?  You may even be jigging with one rod and want to deadstick a second rod because the bite is slow?  So what do you use if you don't want to set that rod on the ice?  What about a rod holder that fits easily on the side of your bucket?
I found this rod holder at my local tackle shop.  They are easy to rig up, and hold the rod securely.  You can even bend them since they're made of a simple metal wire.  I have been using my rod holder for 3 seasons now and find that it is the most commonly used item I own when ice fishing (besides the ice rod).  I like to use this rod holder as a second set of hands.  I can set the rod in it when I am tying on a different lure.  I also use it when trout fishing the ha…

Fox Lake Crappie Fun

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It was a beautiful day on Fox Lake here in Wisconsin.  I met up with friends for some crappie fishing.  As we started out on the frozen lake, it was over cast and cold.  It was a perfect day for experience fishing.  I say experience fishing because I don't use shanties, or flashers.  I enjoy the crisp winds and the whole, "Man vs. Nature" thing.  I want to know that the fish I catch are earned.  The crappies were moving in waves.  Absolutely no fish, to a school of fish in a flash.  To say the bite was slow would be a lie.  The bite was quick, just the windows of opportunity were small.  Downsizing to a size 10 Bro Bug from Northland Tackle with a few spikes worked well.  If you hooked into one, get that lure back into the water fast and you would catch another.  If you didn't get a second bite you had a good hour or so until the next wave of crappies came.  I had a good day and was able to help send my buddy and his girlfriend home with enough fish for a good meal.
T…

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