Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Holiday Shut-Out

Chris and Nick taking a break to cook-up some grub.
When:Monday, January 17th (MLK Day), from 7am to 3pm
Where:Lake Hopatcong
What:Ice Fishing with Chris and Nick
Weather:High in the mid-20's, mostly sunny with a reasonable 5+mph NE wind
Moon:Waxing, a day before full.

This was bound to happen sooner or later.

While I was driving up to the big lake on MLK day, I was thinking to myself what a nice streak I've been on dating back to September: a 35-inch pike on the St. Lawrence then a 26-inch Hopatcong walleye followed by two nice fish through the ice. I  knew I was overdue for a stinker, but I didn't think that it was going to be on Lake Hopatcong.

I got to Dow's nice and early and had a jump on Nick and Lido; who would be arriving a couple hours later. As I started hand-drilling holes in the now 11+inches of ice, I quickly realized that either the blades on my auger were going dull or that I was severely out of shape. I'm thinking that it's probably a little bit of both. Anyhow, seeing as the ice won't be getting any skinnier until March, I called Martalus to see if he wanted to finally pull the trigger and go halves on a gas auger.

He agreed....and a shiny-new Jiffy Stealth STX will be arriving on Thursday, courtesy of the always-friendly Thorne Bros. in Minnesota.

After getting some holes drilled and setting the tip-ups, I started jigging and immediately realized that it was going to be a slow day. I had not had a bite by the time Lido and Nick showed up and things didn't get any better for me thereafter. Lido got one pickerel on a tip-up and that was the only fish we would see that day.

We moved around quite a bit trying to make things happen, but nothing did.

So, I got my first skunk of the year. I'm sure that it won't be my last, but hopefully there won't be too many. This was the best day weather-wise that I've had on the ice so far, but the fish obviously didn't agree. This is the first time I've had MLK day off in awhile, and as the old cliche goes, a bad day fishing beats a good day at work.

How true it is.

Note: You can catch another version of this trip in the January 28th online edition of lhweekly at http://www.lhweekly.com/.

Next Up: Saturday January 22nd (my birthday).......me, Martalus and our new gas auger. We'll be somewhere in north Jersey. I can't tell you where, but I tell you what we catch. Also, could a trip to Manitoba, Canada be in the near future? It's a definite possibility, but you're going to have to wait to hear about that.

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