I’ve been blessed with so many friends that have invited me to fish with them. Some of those invites have been to go ice-fishing. But this Florida native has always replied “Thank you but doesn’t ice go in your tea?” But my curiosity about the tactics, conditions and feeding response of those icy-fish had won. Besides, how often does an angler get to go fishing with PWT Champ, Mark Martin? So I booked my flight to Bay City, MI.
Since this trip was waaay out of my box, I had to gear up. Frabill kindly sent me some of their Ice-hunter combos to try. These rods are sensitive and the reels are extremely smooth. Teeg of www.RecycledFish.org sent some Grabber Hand Warmers and a pair of ice-cleats. (Never needed those in Florida) Our friendly rep, Nathan Rice shipped a SnoSuit to the hotel for me. (It wouldn’t fit in my overnight bag and I couldn’t wear it on the plane.)
Mark Martin’s Ice Fishing Vacation School entails an afternoon of seminars with the pros at Linwood Beach Marina and a trip to Frank’s Great Outdoors. Then you fish two and half days, with on the ice training. The camp includes a bag of tackle samples too.
I spent day one visiting with the anglers and pros; learning the techniques employed on the ice and shooting photos of them with their fish. I got to fish a few hours with nary a bump. But after listening to David Rose’s wit and wisdom, my head was full of ideas and my sides were splitting. I look forward to fishing with this acclaimed, Northern Michigan guide soon.
My biggest surprise was how warm I was, layered up inside the Snosuit. I shed the top and my cap by nine o’clock that morning!
Day two’s mega bite of 300 fish made the snow storm just a minor inconvenience. But I missed it. Something akin to “Montezuma’s revenge” had a hold on me and I spent the day in my hotel room, on the porcelain fishing chair. While I was disappointed, I was happy for the anglers that attended. They learned a lot about ice fishing and caught a pile of Walleye, Whitefish and even some Smallies.
I didn’t get to fish much myself. But I was able to bag some good photos and see how our products are used on the ice. It was a pleasure to meet so many great guides, writers and anglers. Come join us next year for a great adventure.