Despite our best efforts, sometimes we get caught up in going to our old stomping grounds because they usually result in catches of fish. It can be tough, given the limited amount of time some have, to try ice on some lakes we've never been before and sometimes once you work up the courage to try a new place, you may even get skunked, which can dampen any desire to try someplace new. But other times, you can be rewarded with some nice fish and add a new place to your regular lakes or dams list.
Recently, Steve and I tried out a new place. After getting some advice from another fisherman who fishes it often during open water, we tried a couple of spots he recommended. We did catch plenty of small crappie and bluegills, but Steve also caught a tank of a crappie, his biggest he's ever caught at 15". He had quite the fun time reeling it in with his inline reel and 2# test line. He was blissfully happy and the hour trip to the lake was already worth it. After a quick thought, he released it to grow and fight another day.
We moved over to a small bay to see if any bass or pike where around, first deploying our Arctic Warriors to act as scouts while we jigged around them. I was still using my new ultralight Genz Legacy rod setup from Clam and jigging with a Dropkick and a Jamei plastic for panfish when I had a large red mark came right level with my lure and the drag started screaming off the reel.
It was hard to tell if it was a big bass or pike, but the bend in my short little rod was sure fun to watch as the fish kept running. Using Clam's new Frost Fluoro line in 4# test, I had to watch the line scrap against the bottom of the ice, but the new line held strong. Once I got it up through the hole, at the end of the line was a nice sized pike.
After a few pics, it went back down the hole. Despite the disadvantage of an ultralight rod on a larger predator fish, having the drag set right can make up for any lost power in a fishing rod and it further proved that this dam was well worth the trip and many more to come! Try some place new and you might just be rewarded.