Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sub Zero Ice Fishing in the Suburban Midwest

Sub Zero Ice Fishing in the Suburban Midwest

WOW cold enough for you? Here in the Chicago area we are no strangers to cold weather or winter or really good beef sandwiches.  Jason Darkstar and I both took the day off for fishing. What an awesome plan for a Monday in January right? There was only one problem, it decided to be well below zero with booger freezing wind chills. With schools cancelled and life at a stand still it was decided we would venture out in the afternoon.

I had a ton of layers on as I got out of the van, I was not pleased with the constant 20 mph winds burning my eyes because that was the only thing I had uncovered.  Another DA member Crankin King showed up to fish with us and helped me fight my shelter as I screwed in my new Eskimo ice anchors, which I must say after using some of the earliest designs of anchors, work awesome.

Once DS and I were barricaded in our shelters the fish started coming in at a steady pace. Nice fat gills and bass, some on jigs and Maggies and others on dead sticks with minnows.

Funny things happen in this kind of cold. We Midwest guys are used to cold temps, but in the Chicago area double digit below zero temps and high winds are not the norm. The first thing I noticed was the iron bear claw ice cleats I have had for years have a tendency to loosen and fall off. After drilling my holes I look down at my boots and cleats and they are completely encased in ice! I didn’t have to worry about them falling off!  I had a lantern and a heater running. When I stood up there was no frost from my breath however as I bent down for anything I smoked like a steam engine. My ice holes steamed like mini hot tubs (that’s new I thought). Ice formed on my lines as if I was not even in a shelter. I switched rods and five minutes later went back to the rod I had before, the spikes were frozen solid. As the sun set my propane tank and lantern were starting to ice up on any exposed metal. IT WAS TIME TO GO!!! Pulling my sled back to my van the cold air burned my lungs and I had to stop twice to get my breath and heart rate down when in most cases I would not need to stop to rest and would have gotten to my vehicle in half the time.

Did I catch fish, hell yeah! Should I have been out there, hell no! Will I do it again some day when the feel of the cold has faded in my mind, probably?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Darkstar72's Fishing Blog: Desperately Seeking Bass

Darkstar72's Fishing Blog: Desperately Seeking Bass: I was off work this MLK Day .  I received a tip about an ice fishable pond that was reported to have nice size bass.  I enjoy catching bass ...

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Fellow blogger does a new job. Illinois Wisconsin Fishing: the breath of life

Illinois Wisconsin Fishing: the breath of life: a stupid pike photo to make it look like a fishing report In 2014 I have decided to breath new life back into my fishing blog. I have ...

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Quick Trip "a dance with Maggie"

Jc Crappies and I were able to get out for a short time before the frigid temps of 2014 struck. It was right after a big snow and getting to many of our spots was just not going happen without the roads being better. We pick a very small pond behind a large building that helped block the wind. This lake is like a box of chocolates we never know what we are going to get. Sometimes it is bonanza sometimes bust.

Jc lowered his knew camera down and we sent Magic Maggie down to do her work. Slowly his screen filled with fish! They were not aggressive besides a couple fish that surprised us. We had to get Maggie to dance and entice these fat boys to go. Then we started hitting the gills not crazy but consistently until or time ran out.

It was a blast we both had different tungsten jigs with Magic Maggies from Aurora Lure Company. They worked great when it slowed I would pair the Maggie with a spike. This really helps your bait last if you are using the live stuff. I also used a couple Swedish Pimples and Big Eye spoons tipped with a Maggie and or a spike. These baits are pretty cool and I am sure you will hear more about them.

Below is a promo for the Maggie with just a little bit of footage from that day.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Great Start to the Ice Season – Jackpot Bluegills

This Ice Season Started for us early! A good old fashion winter, who would have thought it after last year’s warm short season. Looking for safe ice was our first concern. We drove north because we heard of safe ice up at the top of the county. Every small pond Sooner Bass (Ted) and I stopped at my spud bar went through( this is a heavy bar use to test ice before you walk on it). Surprisingly, it was the large ponds or small lakes that had safe ice. I believe it was the lakes with wide open areas where the frigid winds aided the ice creation.

 We had checked several places all unsafe. When we were about to give up Sooner who said hey it cannot hurt lets check this bigger pond I fished once a while ago. This lake is surrounded by cat tails and is sort of hidden as well as old. When the spud bar could not break through we ran to the car to get our stuff. It was about 7pm and dark. Right away we started nailing huge gills! The small ones would be considered ok at many of the ponds we fish! The night bite ice fishing historically has not been good to me so this was awesome.

Since this was the only safe ice, I and other Members returned a few times. Beard Heads on and every time produced something. I even took my daughter in seven degrees. The heater was blasting as she caught 17 gills and loved using the Fish TV. Five trips I fished with JC Crappies (Chusum), Dark Star (Jason), Crankin King (Scott), Brim (bob), and Fluke (Alan) all hardcore DuPage Anglers. All had their Beard Heads on and we were all staying warm.

We used many techniques. Straight lining, floats n jigs, floats n minnows, Little Atom plastics and our new weapon, Magic Maggies from Aurora Lure Company. The Maggies are awesome, if you put one in your hand next to a real wax worm there is not much difference except one is trying to get out. These come in red and white and caught a ton of fish. We are field testing these now and are excited at the early results. I will revisit these plastic baits once Aurora Lure Company has them on sale.

Getting out more then a couple times in December was awesome. Catch and releasing a pile of full grown bluegills was the star on top of the angling tree. I am looking forward to the rest of this season.