Monday, February 7, 2011

Foul-Weather Fishing

Although only a mere 12-inches long, this is still technically my second muskie.
When: Saturday, February 5th, from 6:30am to 3:30pm
What: Ice Fishing with Chris Martalus
Weather: Wet. Mixed sleet and snow turned to rain. Cloudy with fog. High in the mid-30's with less than a 5mph NE wind.
Moon: Waxing. Just a couple days after new.

Every once in awhile I hear the term "fair-weather fisherman." This refers to someone who limits his or her fishing trips to when the weather is nice. Some people have that luxury; I do not.

Furthermore, it is believed by many seasoned anglers that some of the best fishing occurs when the weather is not so good. In the 5 times that I have been ice fishing so far this winter, that has been true exactly 100% of the time. Bad weather also keeps many people indoors, and God knows I hate crowds.

After picking me up at 4:30 in the a.m. and stopping at Musconetcong Bait and Boat at 5:15, Chris Martalus and I headed out to a special place in some crappy weather. We walked onto the empty lake around 6:30 and had the little gem to ourselves for nearly the entire day. Another group or two joined us after about 5 hours, but this lake that normally sees heavy weekend crowds had plenty of open real estate on this during the rain.
And the fishing was great.

Nick Niles had given us a hot tip on where to set-up shop, and we quickly drilled a couple dozen holes with our still shiny new Jiffy Stealth STX gas auger. I had 3 three flags go up before I started jigging and the 3rd produced the tiny true strain musky that you see up top. Pretty cool.
That wound up being only one of two fish that I caught on the tip-ups for the day, but the jigging was non-stop. Chris had a small largemouth bass on his only flag of the day, but tied into 3 nice trout on the jigging rod in one 20-minute span. Plenty of others took his jigs as well.

I sat over the same hole pulling up fish after fish the entire day, but none had very much size. I had my shot at a trout near the end of the day, but it came off right at the surface.

Even without catching anything big, the fishing was pretty fantastic and the mini-muskie was a cool surprise. We got wet and it got cold, but it's really hard to stop fishing when the action is good. My fishing trips so far this year have made me seriously think how bad the weather is going to have to be to keep me home. After all, I'll take bad weather over bad fishing anyday.

Next Up: Ice fishing again on Saturday. Location is somewhere special but slightly sketchy. Details next week.

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