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ny ice season postmortem: no images

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hello good sirs and misses,
to those couple of new friends i made this season as well as those who have offered various levels of support over the years and during this trying time, thank you!  i think by next year, i may have a large enough/strong support structure to better deal with these deplorable compositions of people, the spineless moderators allow to flourish with impunity.  shame on them and all who tolerate this unacceptable behavior.  it has been happening for years and there needs to be a change of command and policy to one which promotes healthy discussions otherwise this place will remain collectively in the stone age.

some lessons learned and changes for next season
buying more and better gear to make the time outdoors more comfortable.  i had a string of 3 trips which became compromised by equipment and affected my mood enough i could not recover to fish the next day even though the weather was nice.  i am going to double and triple up on several things to prevent this from ruining not only one day but others as well.  i want to have at least 2 lifepo4 batteries for the fish finder(they only cost about 35$ a piece)  i have a replacement coming in the mail and think i can fix the original one if they do not ask to ship it back; if not i will buy another as hauling around the 5.5# lead acid battery is not enjoyable when you are used to the 2# alternative.  i had issues with the 2703 milwaukee drill and will probably just buy a newer version 2803 as well as a couple more 9ah batteries or maybe even some 12a/h's.
warmer clothes and covering more of my exposed skin to limit the impact wind has.  an extra pair of gloves, i like the -40f ones i have from amazon and will get another pair for when mine get wet.  i have a crappy balaclava and will get a nicer one, i am going to get a pair of ski goggles to wear most freezing days as well.  a significant part of my success stems from mobility and allowing pods of fish to reset so i can get back on them.  i may purchase a shanty for next year but this really cripples the mobility part.  i am finally going to buy a sled as i do not feel safe wearing a heavy backpack should i fall through the ice again.  i can bring some extra gear to make the trip safer and more enjoyable.
insulated bait bucket for when i will catch some bait and fish some tilts for additional data.  there was a day i caught a bunch of bait which i let go only to waste almost an hour catching more when i needed them.  i will just use the 3mm jig and knock it out first thing and focus, the balance of the day with the larger profile 6mm jig setup.

i lost several large fish because i was overzealous landing them in a tight hole.  the jigs just about always are the first thing to hit the edge of the hole and momentum encourages the fish to keep sliding forward and off the small micro barb.  this happens most with the bass once they get larger than about 16".  i am still gutted but am in an okay enough place to share a story which happened within the last week.
lost large fish story
the goal was 18 pounds for 5 best bass and we were on pace to do it when a mark, i have become accustomed to seeing appeared in the thick weeds.  i saw si set the hook on the fish hard and as the pressure continued to build the line broke without hearing the clicking drag.  i wish it ended here as i could have moved on but i started to look for the tail of the line in my guides and could not find it.  my eyes soon located a curly pig tail next to the spinning reel rotor, i assume the line may have wrapped around the bail rather than correctly on the line roller?  this happens often when the roller ices up but we were above freezing conditions.  anywho, i began to despair as i thought about a quality fish now having to live with ~ 12 feet of 6.2# flurocarbon when i looked down into the uncleaned 6" hole and saw the curly section of the broken line still there.  i picked it up and pulled about 3' to find a heavy and angry fish still attached.  i wrapped the end as best i could around a finger and began to hand line this toad.  i have watched these tenkara fly fisherman battle large trout with no reel and i had an idea what i needed to do in this emergency situation.  i let it pull my arm and slowly put on the brakes as my hand approached the hole.  after about three runs, i became overily confident i was going to land this fish after it hit its head on the hole and it did not pop off the little #8 jig hook.  i was trying to clear the hole of ice chips, while maintaining pressure on the fish when it was at the hole. for some reason i though it had started up the 16" of ice and i just went caveman style and continued to pull....the fish wedged in the hole and broke off soon there after.  tough break indeed...

lesson learned from lost fish and likely changing fluorocarbon line
this is one of the reasons i will likely fish 8" holes all next season while in new york.  i am conflicted as we get almost half the holes when compared to a 6" auger.  i am also probably going to move to .008" 3x tippet material for the 6mm larger profile rods(this will get me 8#+ of tensile strength compared to the 6.2# i fish with now.  i will continue running 6x tippet on the 5mm jig rod and 7x on the 3mm jig rod.  i may do 5x or even 6x on the dedicated 6mm jig with smaller profile for fish under about 18" as it will get down in the deeper water quicker and this is a critical consideration.

rod's purpose and fine tuning the system
i do not have any more guitar strings up here but have played around with a couple different ones to make them work.  there is no doubt this is the following goal you want to have with your rod and spring bobber.  first of all, you want to size the rod so that under the normal drag you will run, the rod has maximum deflection.  you also need to be certain that the rod, drag setting of the reel can provide full hook penetration.  this is easy when fishing a single thin diameter wire #8 hook with micro barb.  any extra force than what is required for full penetration will result in additional tissue damage which increases the likelihood the hook will come out.  if your rod is too stiff it will also be less likely to absorb head shakes and other changes of motion.  

as for the spring bobber and i consider this the second most important part of all jig fishing systems (second only to the information your finder provides) we want it to be as light as possible while still supporting the jig.  this means you should have dedicated and calibrated spring bobbers for each weight jig.  for example, if we are too stiff as the fish eats the jig, the rod and the spring bobber may move at similar rates and make it more difficult to detect more subtle movement.  you can use a thinner wire but it needs to be shorter to provide the necessary stiffness when compared to heavier gauge and/or different material composition.  the goal is maximum movement of the spring bobber during the softest of strikes to increase ones chances of detection. there is some serious balancing going on here to find these advantages that off the shelf rods would be next to impossible to find.  one needs to build and tweak the rod blank to deliver these qualities we seek.  the better the variables are managed the better the system will perform over a wider range of fish sizes.

found a quiet perch spot (172 fish landed)
i was running an errand in the area, and snuck onto the ice to try out a small feature in the magic zone many fish like to live, which i had not seen any fisherman/woman activity on previous trips.  i bundled up the best i could and when the -13f hit any exposed surface it made you question your decision making processes which led to this point in time.  i walked the 3/4 mile while the wind pushed me along the way to where navionics suggested the feature started.  to my surprise, the first hole was correct and i ran into a nice quality pod of perch which action only interrupted when i needed to take my glove off to unhook and spend the next minute trying to get feeling back in my hand.  i tried to loosely define the feature but hands were not able to recover from the repeated need to use the forceps to take the hook out of the throats of large perch.  i felt confident i could come back and go for 200+.  to be clear i am able to unhook probably 70%+ of most perch without taking either glove off but these fish were aggressive.
about 11 days later, i planned on returning when i saw the above freezing conditions for most of the day.  there were many inefficiencies in this day to include not having the area well understood, letting some random assholes(chances are they are members ^_^) borrow my drill and auger for about an hour only to try to steal and may have even stole some of my perch out the grocery bags, plus i had to leave early to sell the fish.  i ended the day with 171 perch and 1 cisco?  about ten over 12" and maybe one touching 13" but most common were 10" with maybe 30 over 11".  i suspect i killed more fish this day then i have concisely in the last 25+ years; 120ish.  the people at chaumont bay & seafood said it had been weeks since anyone brought in a catch like i did.

i believe i can go for 275+ perch on chaumont or maybe even on the aforementioned spot earlier in the ice season with more fish and less pressure.

fishing solo on new, large water is difficult
i put in lots of effort and could not find many quality areas worth returning to or inviting someone to fish. it is difficult to collect data by oneself on big water when you can only drill 1200" of ice or so. there are specific areas which i am going to scout just prior to ice season and just after ice out so that i will not waste days drilling limited holes.  it was not practical to do this year, as i was not sure i would move up here and i also got up here in the middle of the season.  i will continue to collect data throughout the year and next year should be more special.

i found a nice bass spot that for three consecutive trips averaged over 15pounds for top 5 bass each trip.  my best day i unofficially went for 17.5pounds but did not weigh all the large fish as it was a late start and i felt confident they were not larger than 4#.  if you find a good spot, look for a better spot.  i was already down the one side of the lake and tried out a new spot before i was going to head back.  i have now scouted most of this lake and there are 2 spots which produce at a rate which one has to experience for themselves.  i found a couple spots like these on some lakes back home and actively seek out this trend when i can.

one jig to rule them all, new profile is here to stay
this 6mm jig system with the larger profile consistently produces quality fish now.  i hooked enough large fish over the last 3 years and landed a handful with the 5mm jig and micro dressings to make an unmistakable connection.  i did this while trying to catch all the fish i could find.  patterns emerge quickly depending upon the data one can generate.  things like...i just ran into a school of perch in xx feet of water and found more quality perch in xx feet of water.  is there a connection to be made?  over time you generate more and more information for the model you are constructing in your brain.  do you think the fish you caught were feeding or inactive? do you think they spend more time feeding or inactive throughout the day?   i am constantly trying to make sense of the information i collect with previous experiences.  if you only catch a couple of fish a day and only ice fish a couple of times per season, i do not care how smart you are, you are not approaching the level of the more successful fisherman in your lifetime.  i do not see me spending much more time now that the larger profile 6mm works so well that i can keep my mind happy chasing other "less significant" variables.  i have tweaked the size and shape of the larger profile throughout the season and am content with the current version.
science does not lie  
many of you are capable of catching up and passing the success i have but you need to start collecting more data.  i have shared enough for some of you to figure out the unnamed piece in the various locked threads.  i bought the popular lures, conventional thoughts suggested and quickly learned they did not produce well enough on the fish i interacted with.  science will beat out conventional "wisdom" most of the time.  no one told me or showed me it would be this simple and work this well; you all have an advantage that i did not.  if one day i find something better i will use it but i would not hold your breath as the sample size is rather significant at this point. i do not think there are many people who have caught more fish than i have jigging these last three years.  this is a combination of the added time i invest versus the average person and the success of the system; more the former.  if you want to spend extra money because it makes you feel better and you belive it is nessasary for success that is your perogative but plain jane tungsten jigs can incredible well.
an important part of being scientific is the ability to acknowledge and embrace you were incorrect, learn from it and address your foundation so that all information is logical.  i have previously discussed in the locked threads in connecticut a couple times i was incorrect and how happy i was for the paradigm shift that resulted.  there was one person who tried to call me out in the last thread which was locked.  i asked them to explain the disconnect but instead they dodged the learning experience; i even provided the logical explanation within the thread itself but they could not make the neural connections...somethin g something horse to water.    if the day comes someone can show me a consistently better fish catching approach, i will eat crow.  i am proud of figuring this out with marginal help from others and you all have a huge advantage i did not in knowing what is now possible.
do not underestimate what little fish can teach you
the these little fish were correct all along but many peoples ego will not allow them to open their minds.  even when i was successful i wanted more and found it; never stop improving.  i will continue to work on my ability to locate quality fish.  i am more confident than ever before that i will get feeding responses from most the quality fish i interact with.  i suspect i may have some respectable personal bests for a couple more species by next winter.  i will continue to work on my reflexes as they are real kakka at times and try to find more advantages in the rods and spring bobbers. 

i also developed a bad habit of lifting high on hook sets on these cabbage bass and then mindlessly lowering my arm and thus unloading the rod and the jig often pops out of their boney upper jaws.  i did buy some 1/16oz lead jigheads with larger hooks but i like the appeal of one jig to rule them all i am after.  i can confidently fish the same jig in all the water and know i will have a great chance on most fish, big and small.

call to expand your comfort zone throughout the year and flashers are inferior
get out and continue to fish vertically with ice gear in all seasons so that you can become more successful before next ice season.  also put the odds in your favor and stop using flashers or if you have not bought a finder yet do not buy one; units that provide real-time jigging and history graphs like the garmin striker simply provide more information/resolution into the underwater world.  flashers are better than nothing but you are leaving the water/ice with less information.

i get the idea to return to places you are comfortable with but you should consider pushing your comfort zone back a little.  it will make the success you eventually find more meaningful and linger longer.  i finally started to fish the nastiest cabbage i could find and as shallow as about 6'.  i would prefer to fish thicker weeds in deeper water as i think it consistently holds bigger and more fish.  i wasted many opportunities back home as i had little desire to fish less than 10'.  i now embrace this shallow water some days to mix it up.
thank you
thank you again for the support which trickled in when i needed it.   hope you were able to find something which allows you more and continued success on the water and in life.  thank you for your time, peace and long life!

Insulting the mods in your second sentence... that'll win 'em over for sure  :clap: :clap: :roflmao:


--- Quote from: zcm_82 on Mar 17, 2022, 08:14 PM ---Insulting the mods in your second sentence... that'll win 'em over for sure  :clap: :clap: :roflmao:

--- End quote ---
Of course it will 😉 , but sometimes if we just ignore certain things they have a way of fading away

Fred you always had quite the way with words.



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