Another day on the ice! Perfect! For a few hours we planned on fishing with some guys we had met at the first tournament.
There was about 10 of us out there and unfortunately the fish weren’t biting very well. We looked just about everywhere we thought the fish could be. We looked deep and shallow, in the weeds and in the channel. Getting a bite seemed to be pretty tough throughout the entire day! You would think with 10 experienced fishermen the results would have been better
With the slow bite we tried a new technique that opposed our normal style of run and gun fishing. Our buddy Andy grabbed the underwater camera and I had my T 7 Custom Rods. Checking around the holes we realized the fish were everywhere! They were tucked in the weeds, suspending in the channel, and cruising everywhere else. One by one we started targeting specific fish. The method was pretty effective! We caught some perch, crappie, and gills. After several hours on the ice, the slow bite had us bummed. We decided to call it quite and head to a new body of water.
The moved to be ineffective. We caught fish and plenty of them. Unfortunately, the fish we caught tended to be between 3-5″. At least we had another ice report for the books! The day was ended well before sunset because of the hardships experienced throughout the day.
With stop one of the Vermont Sportsman Hardwater Tournament Series out of the way, we decided to try something new. Our main goal was to try to find some walleye using tip ups but mainly to chase flags and kick back a bit. We caught fish but it wasn’t fast and furious with the abundance of fish we knew were present. We caught rockbass, northern pike, crappie, and perch. We had ten tip-ups out spread from 15-30 feet. Our bait of choice was medium shiners set just off the bottom.
Our first flag popped about the time we got our fifth flag set. After a short run the fish was still on but bit the line as soon as tension was applied; Presumably a northern pike. From there on out, we had regular flags but none of our desired species. Perch seemed to be the main culprit of dropped and stolen baits as they were the majority of what we were able to jig up and catch on the tip ups.
After a few hours of slow fishing we packed up and headed out. Being outside of Vermont, bait laws were not an issue so we checked one more spot before dumping our bait. The second spot was a dud. The ice wasn’t great and the amount of fish in the area was nothing to hang around for. One more spot that was on the way home had been in the back of out head for a while now.
The first hole we punched revealed about 6″ of good hard ice. Hoping that we could fish fish we punched holes over a large area and looked around with an underwater camera. Very few fish were found in the area but once we located a good patch of weeds, we found the fish. Bluegill, pumpkinseed, and largemouth bass were cruising around in decent numbers.
After catching a few fish, we called it a day. Long hours on the ice in recent days have tuckered us out. A low key night is just what the doctor called for!
With a Vermont Sportsman tournament only a day away, pre-fishing the designated area was the intention but a group of good friends went elsewhere so we went for the comraderey.
We arrived to our fishing spot that morning and slide to the area that we knew was holding fish. Fortunately for us we were able to make it there early enough that we could claim our spot. This body of water has seen a major increase in tip up fishermen this year due to the fact that this is one of the few places in the area that has solid ice.
Our friends from a far arrived and we visited and set up shop for the morning bite. First bite was strong bring in decent numbers of crappie, bluegill and big river perch. The boys from New York are obsessed with big perch so it was a sight to see them pull some nice gold’s out of shallow water. The fish didn’t cooperate for too long. We worked our way along the channel and didn’t see much action so we cut another string of holes closer to the edge where the channel meets the weeds. By this time a number of fellow fishermen have arrived and proceeded to set up their gear for pike. There was a lot of noise and the fish quickly became spooked. This string of holes along the weed edge would soon pay off. With all the pressure developing as the morning went on the fish that wanted to be in the channel feeding slide just out of it and tucked into the weeds along the edge. As we worked our way back through we ran into a good sized pod of crappies cruising the weed edge feeding. The fishing was fast but lasted only a short time. We tried to follow the pod as they roamed the channel but they managed to sneak away from us probably doubling back.
It was a good day fishing, but more importantly it was a better day spent with good friends enjoying each others company. Check out Mixed Bag Of Panfish on our YouTube Channel!
Saturday the 12th of January brought on the first leg of VTSportsman Tournament series. This series has grown over the years and each event gets bigger and better thanks to the great effort put forth by Scott Blair and James Vladyka.
The first event was originally scheduled for Dillenbach bay but lack of ice forced the directors to move it to a safer location, Mallets Bay in Colchester Vermont. Along with a location change there was also a slight rule change. Fishermen were now fishing for 12 fish, only Bluegill and Pumpkinseed as opposed to the normal 6 fish, 3 crappie 3 bluegill/sunfish. Word on the street was that the big seed bite was good early in the week but high fishing pressure caused them to scatter making them very difficult to fish on tournament day.
49 Fishermen were greeted by standing water on top of 6-7 inches of ice. Fishing was slow to say the least, that is until you put away your electronics. The weeds were so think in the bay that it was literally impossible to use your electronics in every hole. We fished in about 10 feet of water and 6 feet of that was thick weeds. It didn’t take long for the seasoned fishermen to put away the electronics and just fish. The big fish were also hard to come by. Most anglers found success jigging close to the bottom, but getting to the bottom was tough to do. Heavier Tungsten jigs seemed to allow you to get the jig through the weeds and to the fish. Once you found a hole that produced some fish, no matter what size, it was in your best interest to sit them out.
Fish weights varied as anglers had a tough time changing their ways. Here are the results of the top five and big fish.
2013 Vermont Sportsman Hardwater Tournament Series
Stop One: Mallets Bay, Colchester VT
Position Name Weight (lbs) Points
1 Andrew Robinson 6.25 625
2 Ricky Doyle 5.93 593
3 Steve Bannon 5.87 587
4 Andy Silovich 5.83 583
5 Sonny Mingo 5.80 580
Big Fish: Cindy Doyle 0.87 lbs (Pumpkin Seed)
Most people were able to bring their limit to the weigh in, which was Emceed by Mr. Ice fishing Dave Genz. Here are a few statistics from the day; thanks to Andy Silovich for putting these together.
Total Fish Weighted In: 389
Total Weight: 140.4 Pounds
Average Fish Size: 5.7 Ounces/ 0.36 Pounds
Total 12 Fish Limits: 28
Average Weight of 12 Fish limit: 4.41 Pounds
Average Weight of Fish: 5.88 Ounces/ 0.27 Pounds
Largest 12 Fish Limit: 6.25 Pounds
Average Weight of Fish: 8.3 Ounces/ 0.52 Pounds
Smallest 12 Fish Limit: 2.15 Pounds
Average Weight of Fish: 2.86 Ounces/0.17 Pounds
This is what a tournament day looks like when cramped on a small fishable area with an even smaller school of fish!
This was one of the first times that either of us caught a crappie and it disappointed us.
I hit the road early this morning for a trip a few buddies. We had designated the next 2-3 days to film episode 4 of Ice Team TV. The goal of the trip was to land some nice panfish on camera while also sharing some tips of the trade.
The beginning of the day was was filled with shots for the opening scenes and when we got fishing it was close to 7:30. The fishing was steady throughout the day but never really picked up with any good runs. It was a good mix of crappie and bull bluegill throughout the day as well as some nice river perch.
As the sun rose higher, the fish slid deeper into the weeds more noticeable than usual. The water was low the entire day but it didn’t change the bite. Although the fish were harder to find they usually bit when located. The magic depth seemed to be 5-6′ in the thickest weeds that were still fishable. Using tungsten was a vital part of catching fish today. In order to punch down through the weeds, you needed the weight to get all the way down.
The ice stayed firm throughout the day despite the warm temperatures. Although the day was focused on fishing it was nice to slow things down a bit form the usual running around to converse a bit and learn about how shows are made and all that goes into them.
We had the pleasure to be a part of the fourth episode of Ice Team TV and fishing with some of the best that The Clam Ice Team Pro Staff has to offer. This was a great experience and and we appreciate the opportunity.
The day started off a little quicker than the previous since we already had the unloading and preparation shots the film crew needed so it was right to fishing. The fish hadn’t moved much from the previous day and since we were fishing the same spot it didn’t take long to start pulling in some quality fish. It was a typical river bite, early morning hours often bring a steady flow of water into the setbacks. It’s important to understand this concept when you’re fishing a river system that has a dam system. It’s actually simple to understand. When water flows into these setbacks, creating a higher water level the fishing is usually good. Why? The water flow causes the zoo plankton and small bait fish to circulate, thus creating a great opportunity for the larger fish to feed, and get caught by us the fishermen. Watch the USGS Water Date site to dam openings and closings in your area. If the setback you fish is between two dams make sure you are aware of both the upper and lower openings and closings. A good in-flow is created when the dam above is open, allowing for more water to come out and when the lower dam is closed or letting out less flow creating a back up of water.
As the sun grew higher in the sky the flow also depleted causing the fish to move from the deep channel into the thick weed flats. (Look for the inside turns adjacent to the main channel to hold concentrations of fish.) Fishing slowed down a bit but we were still able to stay with them and pick at them for the next couple hours. Our presentation was a milk pink Maki plastic rigged on a gold head Bentley Tungsten Jig. Later in the day a few red maggots helped to entice the fish into biting.
All and all we have a very productive day on the setback. Make sure to watch for episode four from Ice Team Tv to pick up more tips and tricks from the ice world. Bring It!
I only had a few hours to get out today but I figured it was worth giving it a shot. It was my first trip to this particular spot and I had high hopes that the ice was decent. The ice ended up being fine in some spots but it took a bit to find a spot to get on that I felt comfortable with being by myself. The shore at the launch was all busted up and I didn’t feel like taking a swim!
Once on the ice, I punched some holes and started looking for fish with my underwater camera. The bluegill were there but not in size or numbers. I caught a few decent sized fish 8-9″ but nothing like I am use to here. It didn’t seem like they cared what colors I used. Just about every fish that I saw bit whatever I put in front of it. It’s funny how some days they are picky and some days anything goes. Too bad I couldn’t have lined up the good bite and big fish day!
I punched out a larger area than I had ever had to at this spot. The large weedbed usually holds all the fish needed to get me through a day. They were spread thin and tucked right into the bottom of the thick weeds and on the edge of a mud channel. They weren’t on the move at all and I would guess that it was most likely because of the high sun when I arrived around 9a.
After a few hours of slow fishing, the punishment was too much so I decided to head home early for the day and catch up.