Monday, January 11, 2010

Perch Express Day Four

Perch Express Day 4: Pike Time!

I didn’t quite spring out of bed this morning when the old men going to the bathroom alarm went off this morning. We geared up and headed for breakfast at 6:30 am. Biscuits, Gravy, Bacon and Eggs. We then headed out pike fishing with world famous fishing guide Steve ‘Zippy’ Dahl. First day for Walleyes, Today for Pike, and the last day of fishing for Perch! Zippy strategically picked that order based on the weather conditions and forecast.

Our first spot in the morning we landed 2 nice walleye right off the bat.

Then my dad and I both managed to lose 3-4 lb walleye consecutively within seconds of each other. We caught a few other small walleye at the first spot, but then when the sun came up the walleye disappeared and we headed in shallow for the pike. We were fishing an old flooded farmstead in 6-9 feet of water. We set up 8 tip up rigged with cut herring and big fathead minnows, and jigged with rapalas while waiting for the flags to spring up.

Just after we got all set up, chef puts a $1 wager on the first pike of the day. I gladly accept and then pull up a pike about 3 minutes later:

I gave him a chance to earn his dollar back which he gladly accepted and about 20 minutes later I doubled my money with another feisty northern:

We hooked up with several pike on the jigging rapalas before our first flag went up.

Once the flags started popping, we pretty much abandoned the jigging and just manned the flags. Catching them on the tip up isn’t quite as easy as you would seem, we missed about 15 fish today, before we got the hang of the hook set. (fish weren’t eating the bait as good as usual)

So all this time we are pulling in pike fairly consistently, and chef still hasn’t even gotten a bite jigging or made it to a tip up in time. At one point he wanted a pike so bad he yelled out at the top of his lungs to the North Dakota frigid tundra stating the fact. This set the stage for perhaps the biggest ice fishing prank and reaction of all times. Justin and Dad went over to visit with the Chef in his Clam fishing house and I took one of the half dead northerns and hooked it up to the tip up about 20 yards behind the house and set the flag. I went back to the Clam and nonchalantly talked Todd into taking the next flag that pops to get the Pike monkey off his back.

Low and behold about 5 minutes later I see the flag pop up and hollered to Todd. He jumped up faster than he has moved in about the last 5 years and started trucking over towards that flag. We all pretend like we cant quite get there as fast as him and start hollering over instructions as we race over. I kept saying as I was running just slowly lift the tip up and grab the line. Then if you fell any weight on the end set the hook real hard. When he lifted it up and felt the weight on the end of the line you could just needed to be there to see the excitement on his face as he ripped the hook set of the century!

His adrenaline was pumping and we were all hooting and hollering and there was just enough excitement going on to kind of cover up the lack of fight the fish had, but when he pulled it up through the hole and saw it flop motionless onto the ice he was somewhat confused for just a split second. Then when he saw the old blood on the fish he finally put it all together and let out the loudest Ooooooh Maaaaan you can feasibly imagine. His reaction was priceless, I am telling you his excitement was so great building up to this, and his disappointment at not legitimately catching a pike combined with the fact he just got majorly duped was just about enough to stop his heart from beating. Ask him about it, but make sure you have about 10 minutes of free time to hear the story plus a few other stories when you do. It took several minutes before being able to talk him into this photo:

He did redeem himself and finally caught his share of pike on his own just a few minutes after getting back to the Clam.

At 2:00 pm we decided to pick up and head out to a walleye spot for the evening walleye bite. On the way out, our path had drifted in abit and we got stuck. Not once, but several times we had to shovel, push, and rock back and forth a bit. We got out safe and sound, but had worked up a pretty good sweat! Offroad 4-wheeling through the snow drifts out on the Dakota trails wasn’t on the Perch Patrol website or brochures, but actually was quite a fun adventure. People do that stuff for fun you know. I asked Zippy if we needed to pay extra for this adventure, but it was already included in the package. Anyhow by the time we got unstuck and back on the road, we all collectively decided to head in for the day and just spend some extra well needed time relaxing and watching the football playoffs. Here is a group shot from the day.

Zippy also showed us an online video of how to clean the y bones out of pike. Here is the website that has the video: Ed's Bait Shop

We then showed him some of our underwater feeding fish videos

For dinner, Chef cooked up some fresh Devils Lake walleye with a concoction of supplies from the camp store:

Dad went over to the restaurant to pick up some nachos, chicken wings, and buns for our walleye sandwiches:

Food just tastes really good up here in North Dakota. I think that not having easy access to food 24/7 and being hungry is the key to great tasting food.

We finished up dinner, and then just sat around watching a movie before everyone went to bed around 9 pm. We didn’t have enough energy or gumption to go check the fish cleaning house tonight to see what everyone else caught when they came in. Tomorrow is our last day of fishing, and we are finally going to head out after some perch! The perch have not been biting at all with the massively huge cold front that roled through here a couple days ago. Today the barometer was rising, the temps warming up, and the sun shining bright. Pretty much the worst ice fishing conditions possible. We are hoping that things will stabilize a bit and the perch will get fired up for us tomorrow. It takes perch a couple days of stable weather to really get them to bite, so we have been holding off even trying for them, but we only have tomorrow left so we are gonna give it a shot. We should catch a few, but I would bet that they are going to bite like crazy all the rest of the week due to the warming temps and weather forecasted over the next few days.

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