With my annual ice fishing seminar this past Thursday happening in the evening, I decided a morning pre-seminar ice trip was in order to get in the "proper" mindset for the evening's event.
I decided it was time for a trip to one of my favorite lakes and set off for Stockade with visions of big bluegills and pike in my head. Fishing in area where bigger predators would be lurking around with the panfish, I planned on setting up Arctic Warriors with shiners on them around the weedy areas on the perimeter of where I'd be fishing and them moving myself around from hole to hole looking for panfish.
The Warriors were set up in 6'-7' of water with the baits suspended halfway in the water column and above the weeds. They provided most of the early action with several bass taking them.
Jigging small Clam Pro Tackle Drop Kick jigs with Maki Jamei plastics brought several crappie and bluegills topside as well, but when I switched jigs and put on a smaller white plastic, things took a drastic change quickly.
Less than a minute after dropping down, I had a large mark approach it and grab on. I knew right away it wasn't a pannie. Line screamed off the reel and my ultralight St. Croix Legend rod bent to the max.
After repeated long runs, I finally had the fish at the hole and got a glimpse of the brute and was greeted with the very large maw of a big largemouth bass that nearly filled up the 8" hole! I was as ecstatic as a kid in a candy store! After some pictures with the fish, I put him back down the hole and watched him swim away. Always a great thing to watch after such a good fight.
The Warriors provided most of the remaining action for the morning including finally getting into a good pike on one of the setups. You got too love the Arctic Warrior setup for allowing you fight a fish with a rod and reel rather than handlining them in.
By late morning, the bite had died off and it was time to head back to town to get ready for the seminar. For my first time on Stockade this winter, I'm not sure how it can top. But this lake always has a few surprises in it over the winter months. Hopefully I'll get to wrangle with some more hawgs there this season!