Monday, March 1, 2010
Duckpower hits the ice... day one continued...
A touch of flashback to better transition the unbiased viewpoint in comparison to the prevarication of my friend to the end...
It seemed all to easy, the hot spot we were about to strike in order to score the almighty state record was just a bare jaunt through the bushes along a path. Apparently, we weren't traveling the road less traveled. Actually, I noticed a car pool lane, passing lane, and several off ramps. I noticed the continual upbeat manner of my unregistered Maine guide whose only true success in leading me in good direction was one small jake turkey.
As described in my previous post, it didn't take long to drill the holes and set the traps. I must once again reflect upon Mr. Outdoorsman's two footed balancing act on a flat horizontal surface in a frictionless environment. Hindsight is always 20/20 and I still consider myself regretful that I didn't take the time to videotape Steve's steps of caution and near catastrophe.
For quite some time, the only thing caught was a bare tickle from the efforts of Bud Light. Mr. Outdoorsman kept stating that comradery and the outdoors was all one needs to have a great time, but he in his all inspiring soliloquy managed to forget that I had just driven three hours in an attempt to salvage my vacation as a direct result of poor planning. So as he continued his ideational blathering, I kept thinking “where is that damn fish if one exists here?" My god, it honesty looked like someone had held an ice fishing convention and the only two that weren't invited were dynamic duo who currently sat on the ice.
So after all the chaos and contempt, Steve scored a legit flag shortly after one of my surrounding traps (yes, I had three traps surrounding his one lone long bomb). The spool was turning, then an abrupt pause would occur. To be honest, this is how chain pickerel typically handle a bait and I knew exactly what Steve was planning. Upon each run, Steve would smirk knowing that his opportunity to strike first neared completion. His description to fuel my anguish was, "let him eat that bait to his ass, then I'll hook that potty mouth". Not completely understanding his fishing quote of lore, I nodded in agreement as I attempted to videotape the catch on my cellphone.
Then the hook was set and the Hammer began to draw in the next state record. He moaned and groaned while complaining of how terribly powerful this behemoth was. I could''t doubt his experience, after all three years ago he hauled a 17 pound northern of off North Pond which lays claim to the current state record. After a few seconds of drawing line, a northern emerged from the shallow depths and pushed out of the ten inch hole in the ice. In an attempt to explain his drawn out battle to the end, Steve mumbled something to the extent of "that was a great fight for a smaller pike"... I didn't care, the only thing on my mind was that the man who had just driven hours to go ice fishing was officially down one. After a few pictures of the giddy wonder, we returned for a couple more of those red #7 weapons of mass destruction.
I needed to increase the intensity of the lazy man's sport of ice fishing, those traps had to be checked more frequently so that I could increase my odds of hooking a pike before sundown. Yes, I would be on my way...
Upon the arrival to my third trap, I caught the glimpse of something larger than the shiner attached to the hook. Steve was on the cell phone with his brother describing his good fortunes over my current failures and was readily on his way as I announced “Fish On!!!”
With the camera set for the all mighty and important action photo, I began to embark on my own personal struggle to haul in the northern pike of a lifetime. As I set the hook, I felt almost no resistance whatsoever to the point I thought the fish was gone. That should have been how it went, but nevertheless I continued to bring in the short run line and pulled the monster amphibian out of the hole.
Yes, I scored the almighty mud puppy (Necturus maculosus) which automatically puts the ice fisherman into the underclass category.
Downhearted and depressed, I posed for a few photos for Steve's enjoyment and emphatically marched to one of Steve's traps to toss my trophy into the shallow abyss. Needless to say, to have driven 3 hours to catch such a wondrous element of nature didn't float my boat of personal utility.
A last flag just beyond the point where Steve caught the northern pike went up and this would be my last opportunity as the sun began it's retreat below the tree line. The spool turned several times and upon a light check to see if anything was on, I realize that the attempt was futile. Within several minutes battling the chill of impending darkness and gaining wind, we had packed up and found our way back to the truck. Our next stop would be Steve's abode to spend the evening with the family. Deer tips and bear steak would be on the menu. With Bud Light, Nuke 'Em hotdogs, venison, and bear in my belly, Mr. Outdoorsman's toilet better be under warranty.
Is that a mudpuppy on my head?
The Downeast Duck Hunter