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First Ice Tournament of Season

A group of people have started a new tournament series here in the Black Hills this ice season, which is something that has been discussed often on around the area for a while now. With a limited number of spots, myself and a buddy of mine wanted to get in on it as soon as word got out on social media.

With a four tournament set-up spread out across most of the season and a championship in March, it is the perfect way to start up a new series and test out if the series is something that will grow in the next couple of seasons.

The first tournament was scheduled to take place at Sheridan Lake in mid December, but warmer than normal weather prevented the lake from having good ice at the time so the tournament was postponed to this past weekend.

Because of the favorable turn in the weather, the lake was ready for foot and four-wheeler traffic, but the elements still provided a challenge, with temperatures of well below zero for the time of the tournament as well as some wind to drop the wind chill even further and very high barometric pressure readings the day of as well.

My original partner was unable to make it due to a bad physical ailment so another friend of mine stepped in for him. To keep things lighter as we were going to be walking, we didn't bring his two-man flip-over sled and instead decided to use my Clam Legend Thermal one man sled as our place to take turns warming up in while the other would be outside hole hopping to find perch.

Working in tandem, we'd drill holes with our K-drill over an area and try to bring in fish, which proved difficult as finding the fish turned into quite the task and then getting any to bite also hampered things if we found them. When one needed to warm up, the Legend was there with the Buddy heater in it.

While it was tough to come back out after staying in the shelter for a bit, we widened our area and kept searching. Those few fish that did take my bait bit very light, but thanks to the noodle tip and sensitivity of my new 24" Clam Outdoors Genz Legacy ultralight rod, I was able to see and feel those light biters.

Well, it was a very tough five hours till weigh in and we only succeeded in bringing four decent sized perch, which actually wasn't too bad as others had just as much or more trouble than we did. We finished in the top-10 with our catch which really showed how hard of a morning it was for those of us on the ice.

The subzero temps coupled with the sky-high pressure made it a tough day for all regardless of where we were. But it was only the first one of the series and the next one is coming up very soon, though this one could be interesting as it's on a small dam and there will be twenty teams trying claim the best spots. The weather is certainly going to be a bit more favorable so here's hoping for the best.

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