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  • Saturday, December 18, 2010

    Time For Drilling

    Getting Thicker
    getting colder
    .. Make no mistake about it; ice fishing is meat fishing. It may be pleasant, fun, enjoyable, or miserable but, it's pretty serious stuff as well. The neighbors start talking about it as soon as the first snow flakes of Fall hit the ground.
    .. Smokers are dragged out of the deep dusty recesses of the garage and cleaned. Savory woods and pine sticks are gathered. Charcoal is stockpiled and ingredients for secret recipes are studied.
    .. Gear that has evolved into specialized tools is checked and augmented with the latest pieces. Flies are tied, lures cleaned and polished, and the calendar gets marked-up with dates and notes.
    .. Augers are cleaned, sharpened, oiled and put into top shape. Finally, maps are checked and brought up to date with the latest information from the most recent summer's prospecting. It's time to start drilling.
    .. Ice fishers that are stoked by gear every bit as maniacal as most fly fishers are found in our neighborhood. There are just as many "gotta-haves" for them as are found in the stash of summer fishers.
    .. The array of specialized gear, to the uninitiated, is stunning and weirdly attractive. It all seems so familiar, in an other-worldly sort of way.
    .. Spools of expensive, fresh, and strong tippet material are found, 'leader material,' of this quality is necessary.
    .. Ice skimming spoons are found that would be right at home in an Italian kitchen. Lures are diminutive, brightly colored, twinkly, and seem plucked from a miniature Christmas tree.
    .. One thing is very familiar and dear to us: THE SCUD! Most of the scuds are purchased locally from our neighborhood feather merchants.
    .. Some are tied at home, some are even very elaborate in their design and implementation. All are certainly capable of taking a trout in any situation during the summer.
    .. The neighbors fish these at any depth throughout the water column. Rigs consist of single or double scuds in the same or different colors
    ..  Various colors and patterns are used. Generally a synthetic fiber is used for the body and legs. The exoskeleton is often made from the clear plastic found on cigarette packages. Colors range from the ridiculous to the sublime with green, tan, and pink being the most popular.
    .. Most scuds are found in relatively shallow water near the vegetation that they dearly love. They reproduce year 'round and various stages and colors are present for the fish to eat. Right after molting they are a neutral pinkish tan color.
    ..Scuds of the genus Gammarus are probably most common in the neighborhood. They are most active at night and in low light conditions.
    .. Of course, fishing with scuds is usually most productive at first or last light and on overcast days.
    .. One species Hyallela Azteca is fond of deeper water and may be found scudding along the bottom as deep as 50 feet.
    .. The critters range in size from about 1/4" to 3/4". The neighbors use hook sizes from 16 to 12. Most of our local feather merchants keep a well stocked bin of scuds in appropriate sizes for the neighborhood. Although these critters are seldom found in the larger streams and rivers of the neighborhood, many a trout are taken on them during the year.
    .. More to come.