Time Fished: 10:00a-6:00p
Water Clarity: From 5" to 6', depending on where you were
Water temp: way over 14" of ice
Species Sought: Bluegill
Fish caught: 26 Bluegills, 2 Largemouth Bass, 1 Green Sunfish
Jay and I ice-fished a pond he had not fished before, and I hadn't icefished since last year.
I described the situation as I knew it. Suggested an area for Jay, and I moved off to an area that had produced for me in the past.
Jay totally rocked it. He was on good numbers of fish most of the day. He said he caught at least 70 Bluegills, 1 small Crappie, and something like 8 Largemouth Bass (Jay can provide more accurate numbers if he wants).
On the other hand, I struggled. Fish were not where I expected them to be, and the fish I marked would often just cruise on by. I told Jay my flasher looked like a dripping tap...fish would show up right on my jig, then quickly drop down and disappear. Of course the "dropping down" just means the fish were swimming out of the transducer cone.
To Jay's credit, he made the long walk across the pond TWICE, telling me to come over and join him...the second time he brought a 9" Bluegill with him as enticement. I finally caved. I drilled about 10' away from him, parallel to shore. He was in 7' of water with a few weeds, and I was in 2.5' with thick weeds. So then I drilled 10' on the opposite side of him, and was in 8' of featureless water. And no fish. I just 3' behind his hole, closer to shore. 4' of water with weeds. A few fish, but not very willing to strike.
We started drilling more holes trying to delineate the drop-off , and it turned out Jay had completely Aced a perfect inside pocket with the dropoff turning 90-degrees from shore at that spot. It was perfect! And I couldn't reproduce it. But, we found 5'-7' of water at the edge of the drop-off, there were weeds on top. Find weeds, have fish. Move out to 7.5 or 8' of water with no weeds...fishless.
So...it turned out that the fish were close to shore in the weeds...and shallow! The water was really clear in this area, and I could just make out the bottom 7' beneath me. I could even see the occasional fish come in to look at my jig.
Still, there were a lot of "lookers". I caught one 8" Bluegill by sight-fishing. A while later, I was looking down the hole and saw a pretty nice fish show up. It ever-so-gently sipped in my jig-n-waxie. I thought, Hey...that's a nice bass. And then...Hey...he's got the jig in his mouth! And then...Hey, I should set the hook! I did, and it was pandemonium. I didn't have high hopes of landing the fish or even keeping it hooked on a small jig and light gear. It just sat and shook its head for awhile, but then did finally start charging around and peeling line. FUN!!! I had it up under the hole, sideways, and was giving Jay the play-by-play. Sometimes the fish get off RIGHT under the hole, and thought it might happen again here...so I just eased off the pressure on the line...enough to keep the hook point in, but enough that the bass could swim away from the hole. This time, it worked. The next pass, the bass's head came up into the hole, and I frantically tried to figure out how the grab the fish onto the ice, because it didn't want to open its mouth! Land him I did, and Jay was there to take the pictures. 18"!
I eventually moved back across the pond, back into really dirty water. I moved in closer to shore...into 5' of water (but no weeds here), and had a great time in the last couple of hours catching more Bluegills.
Most of the Bluegills were 8" (Jay's 9-incher was the biggest), and the single Green Sunfish measured 7".