Waiting For The FREEZE!

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It’s mid-November and I’m out in southwest Manitoba doing a little deer hunting and I should be thinking about shooting a big buck right? Well its half and half.

I totally want to shoot a big buck and at any time I might need to drop my cell and take the shot, but I got ice fishing on the brain big time. So I’m going type a few words then rubber neck the area I’m hunting, then repeat till I’ve done my article.

I have a true story I want to share with you all. It’s mid-February 2016 and I’m out on Lake Winnipeg ice fishing with Dan and Lorraine Goulet, my brother Roy and his son Austin and my other nephew Ian. Ian was cooking up a nice hot stew with all kinds of good stuff in it over a wood fire. While I’m waiting for some hot food I was drilling holes in a grid.

We are way out on Lake Winnipeg alongside of an ice ridge. Ice ridges can be an excellent place to find walleye, providing great natural structure plus increased oxygen levels. These factors help bring in the bait fish with the walleye not too far behind.

Now I love to grid fish. Grid fishing is when you drill a lot of holes to cover a large area of ice to locate a school of fish. My ice auger of choice is the ION made by ESKIMO. It’s only 22 lbs and can drill 20 holes through 4 feet of ice on one battery. I like the fact it’s so light because I’m getting older and I’m not as strong as I used to be. So I bring a spare battery and go to town. After drilling about 40 holes and a good meal it is was time to fish.

We all spread out on the grid. Roy and Austin start close to the ice ridge and it didn’t take long before Austin started to put on a one kid show. My 16 year old nephew set the hook on a beautiful 29 inch Greenback walleye. I was so happy for him. A short time later out of the same hole Austin crushed another one. This time a 28 inch walleye. He’s freaking out because he just successfully pulled out two Master Angler walleye.  My brother Roy is getting a few eaters right next to Austin but no big ones. So Roy gets bored and decided to go talk to Dan and Lorraine. That was a big mistake. Wouldn’t you know it Austin saw a red blimp on Roy’s flasher and grabs the rod out of the rod holder just in time as a big walleye smashes the Reel Bait Flasher Jig with a nice live minnow on it. Austin sets the hook on a nice 28 1/2 inch walleye. Austin now has 3 overs in just under 3 hours. Can you say hat trick! We are all getting walleye but Austin has a sweet spot and is putting on a walleye clinic.

I then hear some cheering from Dan’s Eskimo Fat Fish Six. It turns out Lorraine just crushed a walleye over 28 inches as well. Way to go Lorraine! But then we hear Roy yelling and he’s hooked up on a big walleye as well. This is madness I tell you. Now how could the day get any crazier you ask? You guessed it my 16 year old nephew is now reeling in another monster. That’s right number four. Austin is so happy he’s almost in tears.  He comes over to me and says Thank you uncle this is the best day of my life. Of course I get all warm and fuzzy inside because I was part of an ice fishing trip that all of us will never forget.

Congratulations Austin Longley, you made us all proud. Follow your dreams buddy. As for deer hunting I saw some young bucks but nothing I wanted to shoot. That’s all for now. Have a great ice fishing season everyone. And play it safe!

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