Thursday, February 11, 2010

Today's story, Feb. 11, had to do with fishing Saginaw Bay during the annual Mark Martin Ice Fishing Vacation School.
Yes, there were fish being caught and no, I wasn't one of those doing the catching. It certainly had nothing to do with trying. My arm was both tired and sore from jigging. We were fishing about 7:30a.m. and began packing up around 6:15p.m. That's a long day and an even longer ride on the backend of a snowmobile across rough ice.
The important thing to take away from this trip is that issue of safety. Being on the ice with professionals as well as many local anglers that know the Bay better than their own yard, didn't allow for cutting any corners.
Cutting a corner in fact got one fishermen in trouble. Instead of taking the correct route back-althought it wasn't direct-he decided to cut the corner and make a straight line out of it.
A shortime later his maching went through the ice into open water. Thankfully he didn't go in with it and with help, was able to get his expensive quad out of the icy water.
I can't emphasize enough how unstable the ice can be. Out on the Bay you are sure to run into open water or expanding pressure cracks.
Mark Brumbaugh, pro angler form Ohio and one of Martin's staff, built a rack on the front of his quad to hold an alumninum extension ladder. I saw a couple more machines with ladders attached.
Great idea. Now get a pfd that you can wear over winter clothing, carry some rope and don't forget your picks. Another tool we used was a spud.
When in doubt as to the route we stopped. Someone walked ahead and tested the ice with a spud to be sure there was enough to support us.
Finally, I talked about the new IceArmor clothing; boots, suits, hats, gloves. This stuff is the real deal, and no I don't get any break from the company. What I did get this trip was the ability to stay warm, head all the way to feet.
Check it out at your sporting goods store or IceArmor.Com. Fish safe!

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