Do not, I repeat DO NOT walk by me this week and say anything about how nice the weather is.
I do not want to hear it.
I have had some of the best fishing of the entire year in the past week and with the forecast I do not know if our ice is going to last. Believe me, I will fish on late ice as long as it is safe, but this week a person is going to have to be really careful if you can get on the ice at all. And then the weather is going to turn cold, and if we do have open water the fishing is going to be T-O-U-G-H. Give me ice any day, and give it to me as long as possible. We should not have ice-out in February.
Anywho, I have fished several waters in the past week and caught fish on all of them. Let me tell you about a quick trip to the sandhills late last week. I had a meeting on Friday morning and managed to mix in a little fishing before and for a short while after the meeting. We fished on the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge. I am not going to tell you which lakes. The Valentine Refuge has been ON FIRE most of this winter; if you cannot go out there and find a hot bite you are not looking very hard (and besides most of you will look at my pictures and figure out where I was anyway).
There were several of us fishing. We caught a bunch of bluegills, did very well towards sunset. Those ‘gills ranged from 8 inches on up. The largest were just a fraction of an inch less than Master Angler size (10 inches).
We also mixed in a few of these and the second day. Selectively chose to harvest a few 10-inch perch.
And then let me tell you about the bass fishing. In my first hour of fishing I iced two big, fat, beautiful sandhill lakes largemouth bass. Now it is not unusual to catch some largemouths through the ice; I have been doing it all winter. But last Thursday afternoon I iced 8! Those fish ranged from 2 pounds up to 4, maybe 4.5. I do not believe I can ever recall catching that many bass through an ice hole in one day.
Then take a look at these two bruisers that were caught from the same area. Both of these fish were well over 20 inches!
Next weekend the BassMaster Classic is being held in Louisiana, http://sports.espn.go.com/outdoors/tournaments/classic/ . Those poor boys have been complaining about the cold weather during pre-fishing. Boo Hoo. Watch the weights this weekend. I did not weigh my bass, but I am figuring if I was weighing in a 5-fish tournament limit I could have taken 14 maybe 15 pounds to the scales last Thursday. I am betting that if an angler can do that for 3 straight days at the Classic this weekend he will be in the money, and may have a great chance of winning the whole thing.
For at least one day I did that, through an ice hole.
Let’s see any of those fancy-pants pro-Bass anglers do that.
And now you know why I want ice as long as possible–I’m praying for cold. Spring can wait!