Joe with his first fish through the ice,
and the only worthwhile fish of the day.
When: Sunday, February 9, from 7:00 am to 1:30 pm
Where: Amwell Lake near Ringoes and a random pond in the middle of nowhere near Clinton
What: Ice Fishing with Joe L. and Dieter
Weather: Cold, mostly sunny to overcast and a little breezy. 21 degrees up to 28. Wind calm to N at 8, NW at 10 and SW at 6.
Barometric Pressure: 30.18in dropped to 30.07in
Relative Humidity: 65% down to 46%Sunrise: 7:00 am
Sunset: 5:27 pm
Moon: Waxing, 3 days after the First Quarter. Underfoot 8:05am. Rise 1:05pm.
Water Conditions: Frozen on top. 10 inches including the frozen snow and ice. Water was very muddy and murky.
After starting off my year on fire, it was another slow day on the ice. Unfortunately for Joe, this was his first time out in 2014 and the action was pretty slow.
Since Dieter was joining us from PA, we decided to head west and try Amwell Lake for a shot at a winter stocked trout or a channel catfish. I even baited a couple tip-ups with chicken liver in hopes of pulling a kitty through a hole.
We had a flag right off the bat, and it led to Joe pulling in his first fish through the ice, a very respectable white crappie.
Sometimes an early flag can be a good sign. More often than not though, as my buddy Nick will tell you, it's the kiss of death.
That would be the only flag of the day.
We jigged-up a few bluegills, but with no flags flying and only tiny sunfish being caught on the jigging rods, it was time to make a move. It's not something I often like doing since there's a lot of gear to be packed-up and unpacked only to be packed-up again, but after a slow day the previous day, I wanted to catch some fish. And more so, I wanted Joe to catch some fish.
That being said, we should have stayed.
I called a couple buddies who told me about a small lake that sounded very appealing. It was a bit of a drive and a bit of a walk, but the prospect of catching fish made it seem worthwhile.
We finally found where we needed to park, and proceeded to lug our gear down a path that had a good 10 inches of snow covered by a thin layer of ice. We probably should have turned around, but we trudged slowly and painfully towards our promised land.
After what seemed like an eternity, with all of us sweating and exhausted, Joe climbed a small hill to take a look at our fishing spot.
When I asked him how it looked, he replied "I hope you brought the spinning tackle."
It was open water.
There did seem to be one end of the lake that had ice, but between it being private property, us feeling exhausted and having to take another hike not knowing if the ice was safe, we decided to cut our losses.
Oh, and we still had to hike back.
That part was not fun, nor was it the best day of ice fishing that I have had. I really wanted to sell Joe on the sport, but we didn't get off to a good start.
Still, it beat being on the couch, although barely. I also managed to stave off the skunk, even it was only by a couple of tiny sunfish.
I may hit the ice again this winter, but its starting to lose its luster. I really want to throw a lure and catch a musky.