Things have been busy, busy, busy around here. I wrapped up duck season, spent time at 2 different ice fishing shows, got some fishing in, and worked on a few other things. It's been a lot of fun this fall but I am ready to transition into full on winter.
It's always disappointing when duck season comes to an end, it's such a short 60 days in the grand scheme of things. We still have a 2 day late season to look forward at least. I'm pretty happy looking back on this duck season. It wasn't spectacular but it was just all around a good season, and I've got a lot of good memories of it. Hutch and I had a bunch of fun in his 3rd season and he is doing everything I expect him to do. I never really had a hunt this year where we just made a big pile of them, but good days were consistent and there were some unexpected above average hunts. I even got an invite to one of those mallard hunts you dream about. It's nice to have a few friends who really are amazing duck hunters, so I really appreciate any chance to get out with them. One of the coolest late season highlights was getting my dad out on Lake Michigan long tail hunting. It's one thing to hear about the oldsquaw show out there, it's an entirely different thing to actually experience it. So it was pretty awesome we had the right weather for a day he could make it hunting out there. He's even got a bird from the trip sitting at Jim and Son's Taxidermy to go on the wall.
Before we get to the fishing let's get into what else has been going on. I've got to give a big shout out to Dock Talk Radio for letting me have a little segment on each of their shows this season. They aren't long but I think you'll find quick tips useful and you can find them on each episode! Another exciting thing for me is we are bringing some FishSens articles back. More in the form of a blog but it will allow me to get into some more technical topics than I get to on here. You can check the first one out in the new FishSens Blog.
I mentioned some ice fishing shows earlier, which means I am fully in ice mode. I spent time working for Clam Outdoors and Humminbird at both D&R Sports and ClearH2O Tackle. It was great to get down to ClearH2O again, it is such an awesome shop for its size. They've got all the good stuff, you know the stuff that works and people want. They also ship worldwide if you aren't local like me. A simple call or visit to their website is all it takes to get an order started. It's good to see all the buzz around ice fishing, people just get so excited about it. It's sort of crazy to see how much ice fishing has changed compared to when I grew up (that's making me feel old). There is just so much gear, baits, suits, rods, reels, line, electronics, you name it we have it. Everything is so refined from the simple beginnings of a hand auger, a simple rod, and a lead jig with a waxworm. It is so much more like open water fishing where I'm trying to match the right equipment to the right techniques, depths, and species of fish.
While I've been waiting for ice to show up in my area (it takes a bit longer because Lake Michigan keeps things warm), I have been out in the boat a couple times. Those lake Michigan perch are still there it's just a matter of getting out there and catching them. I've done it in the spring before when we pushed my 9 footer across the beach and into the little open water by the sand docks. But I had never done it before in the fall out of a boat. I picked a warmer day with calm winds, the only problem was the fog. You could not see anything out there, thankfully my Humminbird Helix had GPS. Without that I would have never left the dock. I headed right to an area where we smashed them last year on first ice. Unfortunately it was terrible and so was everywhere else I tried for awhile. The fog began to lift and I was finally able to maneuver around a bit. Once I got them dialed in things got absolutely silly. I couldn't keep rods in the water and was on my way to limit in no time. One thing that always surprises me with these perch is how they go back and forth between what baits they want. I had 2 rods down with Clam Speed spoons, one with spikes and one with a perch eye. It would vary on which one was preferred for seemingly no reason. It's like that ice fishing out there too and I have yet to even have a theory on what causes it. I certainly didn't plan on cleaning 50 perch that night but I definitely wasn't complaining!
I tried again the next week under vastly different conditions, the wind was howling. It made where I wanted to be unfishable, we tried for a bit but couldn't get an anchor to hold and were bouncing and swinging all over. I did find out that the War Eagle is pretty seaworthy on that adventure. Cameron and I were forced to fish in less desirable places and didn't do that well. Boat fishing definitely presents some challenges in the wind. It makes it so difficult to dissect an area vs ice fishing, it also makes it impossible to keep a bait still. It does however provide awesome mobility in going from one section of the lake to another. I'm definitely going to keep after them as long as the weather lets me. But can we please hurry up with the ice.
Other than that I just want to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and thank everyone for following along for another year.