Sunday, January 10, 2010

Perch Express Day Three

Perch Express Day 3: We Hit The Motherload!
We woke up at 5:30 this morning excited and ready to hit the ice. After putting on 2 suitcases full of clothing and gear we headed over to the lodge for breakfast. Instead of biscuits and gravy, we had the very best breakfast pizza imaginable. Let me help you visualize this big concoction of sausage, bacon, and eggs on a homemade crust!

The lodge is just my kind of place. There are fish and animals hanging all over the place

At 7 am we hung out with Zippy and his crew for a few minutes and then headed out with our guide for the day, Dave Randash. Let me just say that Dave was on completely on top of his game and one of the nicest guys to boot! He went the extra mile to teach us how to fish Devils Lake and even helped us run tip-ups outside in the windy arctic air. On top of our leftover pizza, bag of potato chips, chedder snack sausage, and perch patrol sack lunch, Dave’s son headed into town for awhile and brought back a bucket of hot fried chicken!

Since it was so cold out, we decided to fish in and near his big fish house that was 70 degrees inside when we arrived! Justin and Dad fished in the house and Chef and I fished in a portable clam about 50 yards down the rock pile. The fish house is decked out with every piece of ice fishing equipment and nifty invention or gadget you could possibly think of. Some of the main features were a set of bunk beds and a big TV with a Satellite Dish!

8 minutes into the trip and Chef pulls in the first fish.

About 10 minutes later and I hook up as well.

During that first half hour Dad and Justin catch a handful of nice walleye as well. Dad caught our biggest one of the day during that stretch, it was a nice 22 incher!

Dad caught one of these northerns on a minnow and slip bobber, and the other on a small 2 spot jig tipped with a minnow!

Chef had a HUGE fish on for about 27 seconds before it shook the hook! Ask him about it if you would like a 5 minute story! I will testify that it was big, I was in position to grab it out of the hole, but he never could gain ground on that beast.

From the fish house, Justin kept an eye on the 8 tip ups that we set out, and our first tip up fish was this nice northern.

Another nice one to the bag!

Justin and I both missed several real nice northern on the tip ups. The wind was blowing snow and ice was forming in the holes so fast that it really was a miserable day to fish tip ups, but we just had to give it a try. Even though we missed about 80 percent of the fish that bit, we still had a lot of fun racing out to the flags when the fish would hit.

The first 2 hours of the day was really steady action. We knew the middle of the day would be pretty slow and we thought the afternoon bit was going to be HOT since we were marking tons of fish, just couldn’t get them to commit. Chef and I tried just about every size and color combination of jigs, spoons, darters, pimples, buckshot rattlers, salmo darters, jigging raps, and several generic no name lures as well. There were just hundreds of fish down there, but we had to work for them to get them to bite!

The afternoon evening bite did pick up a little bit, but not nearly what we had anticipated. Altogether the 4 of us caught about 35-40 walleye today, but we probably could only get 1 out of every ten that we marked to bite. I also bet our hook up ratio on those bites was 1 out of 3. Tomorrow will be a different story though on the bite ratio and also the hookup ratio now that we have our first full day under our belts and we had several hours to discuss and replay and gameplan for the next day. I also spent a couple hours today just talking with all the guides and fisherman to learn everything I possibly could. One of the guides I talked with for awhile is Jason Mitchell. His name is printed on most of the rods we were using, so I figured I should observe and listen any chance I could get! I now have a real good grasp of what the fish in the lake are feeding on, what the different jigs are imitating, and whats the best way to use each lure. At the beginning of the day I just was bouncing er up and down and hoping the fish would come by and bite.

We quit fishing just after dark at about 5:45 and headed back about 20 miles to the lodge (this lake is stinkin huge). We plopped our fish into the cleaning house to thaw out and headed in for dinner. I couldn’t decide between the burger or the chicken wrap so I just ordered them both. Chef downed some pasta, Dad went with the prime rib, and justin chose the generous 12 ounce hunter ribeye. Todd gave his compliments to the chef and we all loosened up our belts a notch! We headed down the cleaning shed, snapped a few pics and cut em up!

Here also are some noteworthy pics from a couple guys who were also fishing with the perch express. Look at the size of this nearly 2 lb perch! Its going on this guys wall.

Look at the size of these 5 and 6 lb walleye! They are going into this guys belly!

Its 11 pm and all the other guys are showered and snoozing already! I am absolutely beat myself, we fished for 11 hours today and ate way too much food. I am gonna sleep well tonight and am chomping at the bit to get back out there tomorrow!!!!

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