Sunday, February 13, 2011

Pickerel-A-Plenty And The End Of An Era

Chris holding a fat ol' 24-inch pickerel.
When: Saturday, February 12th from 6:30am to 2:30pm
What:Ice Fishing
Weather:High in the mid to upper 30's, mostly cloudy, breezy later in the day.
Moon:Waxing, one week before full.

When Chris and I set out for our secret spot high in the mountains of Sussex County last Saturday, I had no idea whatsoever that my tenure as a Jersey City resident was coming to a rapid close. Lindsay and I had planned on moving out to the suburbs this coming fall, however, an interesting turn of events has us moving, well..................now.

I moved to 8th Street on January 20th of 2008, and this weekend may be my last at this address. Our humble abode will be sorely missed, but bigger and better things are most certainly on the horizon.

Just in case anyone is concerned, the pending move will in no way stop me from taking a personal day on Friday for probably my last day of ice fishing this winter. Martalus and I will be taking one last shot at the fickle beauty and the ever-possible, hefty toothy critter.

Back to Saturday first. Chris picked me up at 4:15 in the AM and after the obligatory stop at Bait and Boat, we were deep in the forest of Sussex County well before sun-up. To our absolute astonishment, we were NOT the first ones to arrive at this top-secret location. Although we did have some company when none was expected, the two friendly gents turned out to be the only other humans we saw that day and they left after a few hours. Plus, they only had a 10-minute drive compared to our 90-minute haul.

The gas-auger powered up on cue and started cutting holes faster than we could have ever dreamed possible. To our delight, the flags started flying before the last tip-up was set and they kept flying for the majority of the day. The first fish to come through the ice was also the biggest. It's the one you see at the top of this post.

The tip-ups kept us pretty busy and in total we landed 14 pickerel. I also had two that came off right at the hole. Not another species showed its face and the panfish were non-existent. I did manage 4 of my pickerel on the jigging rod though, which is mighty cool in itself. Hauling in a feisty 19-inch chainside on a handline is one thing, but fighting it on a 32-inch fishing rod with 4-lb. test is another game in itself.

This wound up being a great day and probably some of the most fun I've ever had on the ice. The fishing slowed down after noon and seeing as we had a long drive back to Chilltown, we called it an early day. Early for us, that is.

Two days after this fishing trip, on Valentine's Day, my beloved and I would wake up to a most unpleasant surprise. One thing that I've learned though is that even some of the most difficult things in life have a silver lining. We planned on making an escape from the city in September or October, but I somehow forgot that things happen in His time, not mine.

Next Up:The last day on the ice (for me at least) for the Winter 2011. Me, Martalus, possibly Nick and maybe....just maybe.....Mr. Musky.

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