Sunday, January 22, 2012

Day 254: FINALLY!!!!!!

A big 'ol bass taken on a tip-up in Passaic County.
When: Saturday, January 21st, all day
Where: A small pond in Passaic County
What: Ice fishing with Chris, Jay and Redi
Weather: Winter-stormy, snow with 6 or 7 inches accumulation, fog, winds E to NE 5 to 10mph
Barometric Pressure: 30.11in and fairly steady all day
Moon: Just about New
Water Conditions: Frozen on top, 3 to 3-1/2 inches of solid black ice

It's become a tradition over the years that I go ice fishing on my birthday weekend. More recently, it's become a tradition that Lindsay cooks me a birthday dinner "man meal" when I get back from ice fishing on my birthday weekend. Way more recently, it was looking like that "man meal" wasn't going to be accompanied with any ice fishing.

But things change.

Although it's been an incredibly mild winter, temperatures in Northern New Jersey dropped below freezing on Wednesday night and didn't come back up. Finally, it looked like were going to get some ice fishing in. Chris Martalus was ready like always and this year we joined Jay and Redi to kick-off our season. We weren't certain that the ice was going to be thick enough until we actually got there an tested it, but Jay and Redi knew a place high in the mountains that generally has a little more ice than other places. Lucky for us, it has a lot of nice fish too.
The day started off in the teeth of a winter storm with Martalus and I cruising a determined 35mph through the snow to get to Frank's Bait and Tackle in Wananque. Jay and Redi were there waiting and then it was off to do some fishing. After parking the car and loading our gear, we took a healthy hike through the woods and finally came to Jay and Redi's secret pond. After a first test of the ice, it looked like we had taken the hike for nothing, but after a few more holes we realized it was safe enough to go fishing.

When we felt we were safe enough, we set-up camp. Jay and Redi got to jigging and Martalus and I set out a mine field of tip-ups. After what didn't seem like too long, we had a flag that resulted in a good-sized bass. There would be 11 more flags over the course of the day that produced a total of 10 fish: seven largemouth bass, three chain pickerel and a smallmouth bass. It was definitely good action and probably A LOT better than we would have done anywhere else. Except for an expected lull of about 2 hours around noon-time, we had a pretty consistent pick and it was a fantastic way to celebrate a birthday.

The hike back to the car was bit more exhausting because of all of the snow that had fallen, but the drive back was easier as the roads were clear. I was floating from a successful day when I walked-in the door, and of course any aches and pains from hiking and drilling quickly faded with the first bite of my birthday dinner.

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