Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Organization-Another key to ice fishing

Mike Schneider of Twin Lake is on the pro-staff working with Mark Martin's Ice Fishing Vacation Schools.
"I've known Mark for 30 years," the often quiet Schneider said. Hardly ever sitting down, Schneider can be found loading or unloading equipment, helping students and fellow anglers and is usually within talking distance of Martin to help with anything unexpected that comes up.
Last Sunday at the Town Pump in downtown Lake City, Schneider was the first of several seminar speakers.
"I'm going to talk about keeping organized and I'll leave fishing and rigging to the others," he said as he began his talk.
A fan of Plano or Rapala large, plastic tackle boxes that come with heavy foam covering the inside, Schneider explained why he likes these boxes.
"When I first started ice fishing, I had a bunch of really nice spoons and jigs loose in a large box. When I got home that day after fishing, I looked at the box and all I could see was lead-looking baits. All of the paint had been chipped off those expensive lures because they were banging together all day."
A good way to solve that problem is to cut small slits in the foam then insert a lure into the opening. Each lure has it's own spot and is protected by the foam which holds the bait tight to keep it from rattling around in the box.
"It's the details; the little things that make a difference in any kind of fishing," Schneider said. "This sport is a lot of work."
The night before fishing, Schneider goes through a check list that includes his clothing, safety gear and tackle.
Give it a try and save some dollars! (Mike Schneider speaks in seminar on ice fishing in Lake City) photo by Beukema

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Think skiing is tough? Try juggling going downhill on the snow!

Tommy Tropic (Petrie) is a good downhill skier. Give him three bowling pins and the East Jordan resident will juggle them all the while negotiating turns, going downhill on the snow and talking to people, especially children on the way down.
Tropic has been juggling for 30 years and does it full time. "It's how I make my living," he said with his warm, big smile.
When he's not on the hill, he'll juggle and do magic tricks indoors at one of the slope-side restaurants or warming huts at Treetops Resort in Gaylord.
Even if you don't ski and can't stand winter, book a weekend-Tropic juggles on Saturday's-get in on some resort specials and head to Treetops.
Book your trip for January 24, 31, February 15, 21, and March 7 and ask about reserving your spot on    a Wilderness Sleigh Ride that includes a gourmet, four-course dinner at the Wilderness Cabin.Call (855) 222-5449 for more information or visit treetopsresort.com.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Be extra careful on river ice

The DNR warns anglers that while fishing rivers through the ice may be productive it can also be potentially dangerous. That's due to moving water that has difficult freezing enough to allow for ice fishing.
You definitely need a pfd on river ice and absolutely should know the rive, it's currents, and any other pertinent local information to help give you a safe day.
Wear creepers and carry ice picks and a rope. Let someone know where you will be fishing and when you intend to be off the ice.
Slush or snow on ice is a warning that the ice may be unsafe. Stay off the ice in those conditions. When you do go out, wear bright colored clothing and carry a cell phone.
Keep an eye out for large cracks or depressions and avoid those areas. Places like Saginaw Bay are famous for cracks that form, getting larger as the day goes on.
Because you are over moving water remember that it doesn't freeze as uniform ally as lake ice does.
If you do fall through, turn back in the direction you came from as that ice may be stronger. If you have ice picks a screwdriver or even a pen, drive the item into the ice to give you some kind of hand-hold.
Pull yourself onto the ice and remain prone, crawling until you get to thicker ice. Then get a call into 911 for help, warm clothing and heating up your core temperature.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Be careful on the ice, despite recent cold temps

We've definitely had colder weather this past week with even lower temperatures predicted for this coming week.
"She's makin' ice," is a common expression among hard water anglers. She may be making ice but be sure, before heading out, that there is enough to support you.
Last night, on my way home from mass, I saw several guys on clear ice on a couple different northern  Oakland County lakes.
The good thing, they weren't out very far. I don't know if there was a bad side to this other than it was dark, the ice was clear and we haven't had that many cold days yet.
I've said in other columns and blogs that test the ice before getting too far out. Wear a good pfd and take a spud along.
Use the spud to test the ice in front of you. If it goes through easily, turn around and get back on shore as soon as you can. Don't try and find another way across the ice thinking the ice may be thicker over this or that way.
How much ice is safe ice? No DNR official or sheriff's department water rescue will give you a number. In fact, most will tell you there is no such thing as safe ice.
So, before you head out, get information from local sporting goods shops, other anglers, then knock the dust off that spud you no longer use because of a power auger.
Leave that auger at home for the first few trips and take something along that will test the ice. And wear a pfd.

Friday, January 2, 2015

Ultimate Fishing show rolls into town

Next weekend, January 9-11, the Ultimate Fishing Show makes its annual appearance in Novi. Fishing junkies need to get to one of these shows at least one year, if not more often.
In the fishing world, just when you think everything to use is out there, along comes a new type hook, always different bait colors and enough gadgets to make Ace Hardware jealous.
While these shows don't offer everything under the sun, they offer enough to keep people coming back each year.
I have always remarked on the relative ease and the lack of cost to learn all you can about any aspect of fishing by way of the numerous seminars presented around-the-clock during show hours.
I know this sounds like a broken record but come with a notebook and pen to take notes. Grab a program when you enter the show and check out which seminars you would like to attend.
The next part is up to you. Get to the seminar room a little early so you can get seated and settled. Then prepare yourself to learn something, just like going to school.
This is the only chance many of us will ever have to ask professionals in the fishing business any number of how to questions.
From what knot to use, when to use snaps or swivels, which colors work best under what conditions, and what methods produce the most fish.
Seminars at sport shows are the cake. The icing is all of the gear that travels with the show. It's up to you to get there, ask questions, take notes and come home a better educated angler.
Mark Martin, one of the seminar speakers holding a freshly caught Lake Gogebic walleye. By Beukema