Tag Archives: D & B Ice Adventures

1-31-16 – A New Beginning

As we all get older our priorities seem to shift, we strive to order our lives in the best way we know how. Allowing our children to have the opportunity to love the outdoors and it’s offerings has moved to the top of the list for us. We were able to get Bobby’s son Henry on the ice for the first time this past weekend and it was truly a special moment for both father and son.

The day was set aside as a relaxed family day with most of our close friends. Fishing was low key as it was not the number one priority. We set up a few tip ups on a local inland lake, we cooked some food and just enjoyed each others company. Henry made it longer than we expected, lasting an hour and a half on his first ice fishing adventure. The fishing techniques was simple, “grab the line a run Henry” seemed to bring a few fish out of the hole. The look of pure enjoyment on Henry’s face after the first fish came through the hole was enough to make this trip a success.

It is so important to get our youth out of the house and experience the outdoors. Society is changing every day and our children have lost the experiences we were all so fond of growing up. If you get the chance please give a youth the chance to love the outdoors as we all do. They’re growing up fast with the use of technology, please try to put a Vexilar in front of them instead of them in front of an Xbox.

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1-22-16 – Early Ice Night Bite

Our long and drawn out early ice this season has put a damper on our night trips but we finally made it out for a few hours last week.  Ice conditions were good with almost a foot of ice as we scouted an area to set up for the evening.  It’s usually in your best interest to doing a little bit of scouting before you land on a spot for the night, especially if your fishing a new body of water or if the fish your after are difficult to pattern.

We cut a string of holes an hour or so before dark.  We focused our attention a few different points of natural structure.  This particular basin lake had a few small weed covered humps protruding out of relatively deep water. We started our line of holes on and around the hump in an attempt to locate fish.  After fishing through the holes, we decided to cut along the weed edge on the first major contour break.  It didn’t take long for us to hit a hole with with active crappie in it.  After we iced our first fish, we decided that was enough for us to set up the Clam hub and our Hydro Glow fishing light for the night.

There were some active fish in the area as we were able to hook into them right off the bat.  The fish were coming through in waves, maybe five to six at a time right near the bottom. Most times we find them suspending just above the weeds but that’s the beauty of having a fish finder. Adjusting to the bite is much less troublesome when you can see where the fish are rather than guessing.

The fish bit pretty consistently until 7:15 but we stuck it out until 8:15 in case things changed. They didn’t so we headed home and packed up for the next morning!

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1-5-16 – And We’re Back!!!

It’s a late start to the winter but we are finally ready for the 2016 ice season here in the Northeast. We apologize that it has been so long since we’ve made a post but we’re back and ready to share our adventures with you all once again! We’ve got new and exciting tips and tricks to share in the months to come.  The last year has been spent chasing new species and expanding our versatility to put fish in hand.  We are still chasing panfish but are focusing on less pressured waters and new techniques. Thanks for sticking with us and stay tuned for whats to come!

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2-8-14 – Round 3 VSHTS

Saturday Febuary 8th brought us to round 3 of the Vermont Sportsman Hardwater Tounament Series at Mallets Bay on Lake Champlain.  Conditions weren’t ideal at all, with temps in the teens and a wind chill around zero.  Besides the weather, the bay was going to present it’s own challenges.  The portion of Mallets Bay where this event was held, had ample room for fishermen to move around and fish plenty of water, but the fish seemed to be located on one particular weed bed which meant the fishing was going to be close quarters.

At 6 am, we were given the go ahead to start drilling holes and use our electronics but no lines in the water until 6:30.  Most of the 36 fishermen all headed for that one weed bed and started drilling their holes.  In hind sight, I think we drilled all the fish out of that area,  as we started fishing the action was slow.  Those that made slight adjustments in location were able to stumble upon the larger groups of fish that had been drilled out at first light.  Dylan made a slight but significant move east and was able to connect on nice crappie that ultimately won him big fish for the day.  Funny part was it was the same hole that his crappie came from yesterday! The bite was tough to say the least for the better part of the day.  The fish were scattered and easily spooked when we would punch a few new holes.

Towards the end of the day, Dylan figured out that the crappie were suspending about half way down the water column and they were cruising, which means you didn’t always mark them on your electronics. Jigging at four feet would often bring a cruising crappie in and make them bite.  This was a major adjustment made, as we had been fishing in the weeds for the better part of the event.

At the weigh-in Dylan checked in his 6 fish limit with two seeds, two crappie, one bluegill, and a perch giving him a weight of 3.68 pounds and good enough for first place along with his big fish prize.  Bobby struggled all day to say the least not catching any crappies and weighing in a limit of seeds and dink perch for a weight of 1.78 lbs.  At the end of the day, the win for Dylan was a major boost in the points moving him up to first place from 6th.  Bobby’s weight caused his to drop a few positions down to 6th from third but he’s still in the hunt.  The final points event for the season will take place at Laphams Bay in Shoreham on Febuary 22nd.  It’s going to be a shoot out!

1-3-14 – Looking For The Crappie

I had a few hours to kill one Saturday so I decided to go check on the crappies in a pond that has had our numbers lately.  The weather was cold with a high of the day reaching 9 above but with the wind chill it was hovering right around zero.  I have had one good day in search of crappies on this pond, which was last winter right around this time of the year so my hopes were up.

I made my way out to a point and drilled out my grid of holes working from 8 feet of water all the way out to 20.  I knew that the fish were going to be mostly dormant but I was hoping by covering a lot of water I would be able to find them balled up somewhere.  The pond has very little shoreline contour and the spot I chose was one of the only points that had a sharp break with weeds on the inside falling off into an inside turn of the deep basin.  It’s didn’t take long to mark some fish on my FLX-28 Vexilar released this year.

I started deep and began picking up mostly Yellow Perch.  I know that the crappie run with the pumkinseed in this pond so once I found them I was hoping I would find the crappie.  Usually the target depth is 18 feet but all I was find in the deeper water was perch.  I cut a new grid of holes along the shoreline headed towards a natural pinch point working along the edge of the weed bed.  The closer I got to the pinch point the more pumkinseeds I was catching, I knew that I had to be getting close.  I drilled and drilled and fished using my T7 custom rod and my Maki Plastics for four hours and was never able to find the crappie.  Sometimes you get them and sometimes you don’t, every venture out is still a learning experience.

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4-23-13 – Tight Lipped Fish

The temperature this week hasn’t cooperated with us. It seems like we are always a day behind the bite with our choice of locations this week. We like to that we are a day ahead though as the bites have alternated days regardless of weather… This morning, the weather said it was suppose to get into the high 50’s with little to no clouds or wind. In reality, it couldn’t have been further from the truth.

On the water just before 8, the morning air was still cool. The water was just under 48 and only rose one degree all day where the fish were holding. We made a long run trying to locate fish only to find 51 degree water void of fish. Still with the cold in the air, we ran back. On the way we took a break to warm up and watch an eagle sitting in a tree.

The rest of the day we putted around and located fish occasionally with no consistency. All the fish that we did find were set up on a shallow island, covered in decaying weeds. We were working a Lake Fork Trophy Lure “Live” Baby Shad 2-3 feet under a bobber at a slow pace. We used pearl and fire perch with equal success.

There isn’t much to say about this day. It seemed like all forward progress to the spawn this week was lost but it is only a matter of time until the water warms up enough for things to really start happening!

Check out the last picture to see the feeding frenzy!

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4-21-13 – Pre-Spawn Crappie and Chubby Gills

With temps in the low 20’s, we weren’t rushing out the door this morning. We knew the bite wouldn’t pick up until the water temperature did. We were guessing on the way down that the water would be between 47 and 48 because of the recent weather. Today, it was suppose to warm up but wearing our blue suits from Ice Armor was still a good idea.

After launching the boat and letting the transducer adjust to the water temperature, our guess of 47-48 degrees was a little low. It was actually hovering at 46. For much of the morning, the fish were inactive. It took a while for us to catch a fish and even longer to stay put in one spot that held multiple. We did see that as the water warmed the fish became more active.

At first, the bites were very light. The fish weren’t committing and getting hook ups proved very difficult. As the water warmed the bites came more frequently and much harder. We found one sweet spot as the water temperature peaked. There was a warm pocket of water pushed up in a corner. It was 54 and we were sitting in 52. As we would work our baits from shore back towards the boat, we found that the crappie were stacked up on the edge of an isolated weed patch. They were hanging 2-3 feet down in 8 feet of water.

This bite lasted for a while but we found that it was spotty. We were only able to catch a handful of fish at a time before they would stop biting. The best method we found was to back out after catching a few and then return after checking other spots then to get back in quietly. We could tell the fish were aggressive by the way that our bobbers went down. There was no slow and steady pull. Instead, it was a fast pull and run with no problems with hookups.

The crappie bite only lasted for a little over an hour before shutting off. Fortunately for us, the bluegill finally had woken up and were active. For these, we set our bobbers a little higher and fished in shallower water, in the weeds, and closer to the bottom. Most bites came as soon as a cast hit the water but if not they wanted it moving slowly.

We used three baits today. Because the water was cold, the fish were mostly inactive. We used our go to plastic the “Live” Baby Shad from Lake Fork Trophy Lures. This bait produced some slabs but also quite a few short strikes. For crappie, the best bait was a 1″ Gulp! Minnow. For bluegill, the top producing weight was the old faithful worm.  Sometimes live bait just outproduces everything else!

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2-14-13 – A Crappie Valentine’s Evening

With a few hours to kill before my wife came home from work, I decided to take a ride in search of a few crappie for dinner.

I arrived to the pond a little before 4 pm and punched 6 holes in the area that usually holds a few decent crappies, perch, and pumpkinseed.  The first hole I fished was the most productive of them all producing many perch and a few seeds.  I fished around those holes for and hour or so without a crappie sighting so I decided to make a small move.  I had found a nice weed flat adjacent to deep water this summer and thought I would punch a few holes on the inside turn.  I cut two holes and dropped the transducer for my Vexilar FL-18 down the hole.  I was met with 12 feet of water, this is usually a little shallower than I thought the crappie would be holding in this pond but I have it a shot.  I usually don’t fish a hole in deep water for crappie unless I’m marking suspended fish, but thinking to myself that I wasn’t really in deep water I should drop my bait down and see what happens.  My bait reached three feet under the ice and I was all of a sudden marking a big red racing up towards it.  I was using a Bentley tungsten jig with Maki Plastics.  The fish literally pounded the bait and out came crappie number one.  The times in the past when I have fished this body of water had been slow but productive.  I had never caught more than one crappie out of a hole and I had never caught more than six in an outing.  Well to make a long story short the next 45 minutes ended up being the best crappie fishing I have ever had in my life in terms of numbers, aggressiveness of the fish, and overall quality.  It was stacked with fish, they were marking from 5 feet all the way down to 12 feet of water, and they were hungry.  At one point my plastic ripped off and I was catching 11 inch crappie on nothing other than the glow jig.   I iced 52 crappie in about 45 minutes of fishing, and that was even with a stop to teach a local about the Vexilar.

It was a fantastic outing, one of best I have experienced.  I hope to get back there for a morning bite to see if the fish are as aggressive as they were that night.  The best part was that I managed a limit for the freezer and still made it home in time to clean fish and await the arrival of my wife.

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2-9-13 – Tail End Nemo

The end of the work week brought the people of the Northeast winter storm Nemo.  Most schools were closed and Boston was bracing themselves for two feet of snow, we went fishing. . .

We arrived to our setback early and found that the snow totals in this area were not as much as home.  Encouraging this was but the long walk down a steep hill and the longer walk back up it killed that excitement.  The plan for the day was to set up a few tip ups in hopes of getting a Walleye to take the bait.  We drilled our holes, our buddy Mark cut some more holes while I set the jacks.  Once we were set up we began jigging for panfish.  Using the electronics we “trolled” around looking for fish.  There was no shortage of fish! (but)  I’ve never, in all my years fishing seen fish so lethargic.  I would pull up to a hole that was literally stacked with fish, 6-7 suspended in the water column.  The fish would either not move, or swim back down and disappear.    This gave me the chance to refine my cadence and try some different things to try and entice these fish into biting.  Two cadences seemed to work better than normal.  The first was to pound, literally pound the jig.  I made my jig violently bouncing through the water column as to almost upset the fish into biting.  These fish seemed to become agitated with my bait as it worked down towards them, often times leading to a strike.  The second pattern that worked well was a slight bounce, which was interesting since the aggressive tactic worked.  There was not happy medium.  It was pound or close to dead-stick that triggered the fish on this day.

We followed the fish as the slowly moved through the channel trying to pick out the aggressive ones.  Mark was able to land a nice Crappie that actually got stuck in the 6-inch iced up hole.

After a few hours and no luck on the flags other than wind flags we made a move into shallower water.  Shortly after re-setting Mark landed this little Northern.

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I was able to find a few fish for the frying pan as we worked thro0ugh the day.  All and all the day was a struggle but we made the best of it.  I did manage to catch this great Bluegill suspended in 20fow.  The fish was at least 10 inches and I would say close to a pound.

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1-10-13 – Ice Team TV Episode 4 Filming Day 2

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!

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This fish was caught early in the morning in the channel while the water was flowing into the setback.