Friday, February 4, 2011

Underwater Views

I dropped the tiny pink ice jig down to 13 ft, about a foot or so from the bottom. Watching the wax worm as it wiggled and writhered upon the hook, a perch slowly swam toward the bait. My son and I watched intently as the fish inhaled the offering and spit it back out of its mouth. "Bryan! I never felt that at all. If he does that again I'm setting the hook." The perch mouthed the jig one more time and I reeled him in, shaking my head in disbelief for what I had just witnessed. Even with 2lb test and the most sensitive of ice fishing rods, I never felt that fish take the bait. Our first fish of the day had been a long time coming, but what I learned on that Sunday morning will stay with me forever.

A week before I had checked out a new underwater camera from Cabela's. While browsing for some new ice jigs, clothes and such, I stumbled upon a skid of fishing cameras all marked down to make way for the new spring items. Should I or shouldn't I? Well in the end I decided to wait, and after an hour or so of contemplation, I headed home. After weighing the pros and cons of the almost purchased, I realized that I would take Shirley's wrath over going on another ice fishing outing without an underwater camera. I ordered it online, had it shipped to the store and it was $10.oo less than at the Cabela's store. Go figure. Shirley turned out to be an easy sell, when I told her that since it's technically for the boat, Keith and Kevin would be willing to put up their share of the cost. Whew! Jumped that hurdle, now I have to sell that one to the brothers.

I made another trip to Cabela's, Hoffman Estates, IL store to pick up the camera. I brought it home, charged it up and was quite surprised at the quality of the 7" LCD display, case and battery pack.

We managed to get out on the ice that following Sunday to use it for the first time. Pisatkee Bay (Fox Chain-O-Lakes) was our destination and a windy day greeted our arrival. After checking a few locations and not marking any fish on our flasher we headed to the east side of the bay for some signs of aquatic life. We marked a few small fish and decided to set up base camp and poke around a bit with the camera to see what was going on.

The first fish we encountered were small bluegills, which had taken cover near a submerged Christmas tree. We had the bluegills zoning in on our baits when a member of our group decided to walk near our portable shanty. Whoosh! They were gone when they heard the crunching of the snow and vibrations. A good lesson was learned about the importance of being light of foot, when at all possible, to avoid spooking finicky winter fish.

A little while later I noticed a walleye had swam by, but off in the distance. After searching the camera in all directions we found that he had taken up residence within the same submerged tree. The next hour was wasted trying to antagonize a walleye from it's lair, only to realize our attempt was futile!

If you look closely at the photo to the right you can see the walleye relaxing within the tree. He was most likely taking a nap just like all the other fish in Pistakee Bay on that Sunday morning. We managed to see some sheephead (drum) on the camera, a few white bass and a perch, along with the bluegills but it was a tough go around and the boys and I had enough of drilling holes, moving and working baits over the few fish that we saw.

We opted for the comforts of a warm bar, a pizza, and a few good drinks to warm the insides from another good day on the ice. I still adhere to the old saying that a bad day fishing always beats a good day at work, even when fishing and work become one in the same. A day outside in the fresh air with my good friend and our sons is about as fun as it can get during mid-winter. I'm looking forward to our next ice fishing adventure and hopefully some better fishing. The camera worked flawlessly and I believe that I made a good purchase. We will see if it helps me catch any fish, well I guess it already did. I caught one perch!

Thanks for stopping by and taking a few minutes from your busy day with me at Cappy's Pond!


  1. Thanks for the post, Cappy. Indeed, it does sound like you were a wise angler in getting your underwater camera purchased. Wishing you many happy hook ups in 2011.

  2. thats crazy! I need to get me one of those. Great blog! You got a new follower


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