Lake Bomoseen, Vermont IFPA Qualifier. The Last Event Of The Year For The Panfish Persuaders.
By: Nathan Krusko “Fishman”
Team Panfish Persuders
Day One Prefishing
We are met at the launch with winds that would stop the average guy in his tracks. The skies were slightly overcast and the air was a balmy 15. As the sleds are being packed the machines are being reluctant to start. Is this a sign of the day to come? Finally, the machines are running and warming up for the days mission to learn a new lake. Even though the machines may be warm the weather is not doing the same.
With all prefishing there is the mornings discussion of where to start looking for fish. In this conversation strategy is discussed and with all anglers strategy is something that is played from the time we arrive until the time we reach the scales. It is agreed that we start in on some historical places as is usually the case with all competitors. All of the research coming into this day has provided us with some other key target areas that will have to be addressed in due order based on what we consider the best movements of our quarry lurking below the ice.
Time to hit the ice. We jump on the machines and head off to one of our target areas. Upon arrival we discover that we are not alone but this does not distract us from the mission. As with team fishing we work together to cover the area. It is gas auger vs electric and out of the gate the electric is winning against the older gas. After the holes are cut it is time to cover the area and split up. One goes deep and the other goes shallow. To effectively prefish you must cover as much water as possible. As the area is being covered we meet up to share info that has been gathered in a secretive manner. Some fish were found and it is time to move on. The goal of our fishing is to find fish within all our locations and then move on with the goal of opening up possibilities for tournament day. Back on the machines to investigate reports of possible fish. The wind is just beating us as we travel on to our next destination. Upon arriving we discover signs of recent activity which coincides with the intel that was gathered days before. Once the holes are cut it is time to again to grab the shelters and start looking. These shelters are kind of the battle command posts. We get in them and cover up to hide all possible info that is gathered. I digress, back to exploring the area. The area that we chose to cover is a cross cut of a section of old holes. One of us goes shallow and the other goes deep as is the best way to cover. Within seconds of dropping the transducers down, our displays light up. Jack pot this is the sight many fishermen wait for. Immediately our presentations are dropped down and the reaction is furious to say the least. Each of us hook fish and discover this is what we are looking for. The fish are here and the Persuaders have found what is wanted and in good numbers. Time to get out of the area as quickly as we can but stealthy as to not draw unwanted attention. Soon the next destination is on our horizon and as we approach it is quickly apparent that it has been fished heavily. As we come up with a plan for this spot we take a moment to reflect on the last discovery. Back at it, we split and start to cover the area when all of the sudden the largest strike of the day is felt at the end of my pole. I imagine this is one of these great sixteen inch perch that I have heard of. As the drag on the reel is screaming I motion to Chris to give me a hand. Finally this thing is getting closer to the hole and in a quick flash I discover it is not a perch but a nice twenty inch salmon. What a nice surprise. Chris being a true partner reaches down the hole and helps land the fish. This fish may be a far cry from what we are targeting but it was the kind of moment that we enjoy ice fishing. Withing moments of this occurring we are talking and all of the sudden Chris hooks up into a dandy fish. This thing is taking line as well but not in quite a rage. This may be the one! In short order Chris lands the fish and sure it is not the one but it is a nice small mouth bass. After these fish we agree this is not the place to be targeting so off we go to yet another place. Next stop is something shallow. Time to do a little sight fishing to look and hook. This is something that the persuaders really love to do. We have found the place and it seems as if we are not the only ones. Chris takes off with the auger and starts to cut holes with the plan that we meet in the middle of the set. As I am working the deep it is apparent that this is not the place to be for me but Chris discovers there is plenty in where he has been fishing. So I go into join him. As we are fishing this area Chris starts to gather a little info from a fellow angler and finds out this spot has what we are looking for. Time to hunker down and get some good sight fishing done. We are bringing fish on the ice like there is no end but one problem is we have not seen what we want. Oh well, this is fun and who ever said you cannot have some fun and good laughs while out doing tournaments. I take a break and wander off to talk to someone to hopefully find a piece of info that may lead us to our next destination. As planned I have come up with another plan. There is only one problem to this, the ice has a heave and we have to cross it. Once on the other side it is discovered that everything in the sled was not secure and in the midst of it all one of Chris's poles has broken. Oh let that day begin now. We continue into the wind to explore some more. This next spot appears not to be much of a secret but more of a local hangout. To best explain the ice it is like walking on swiss cheese and trying not to step in a hole. This makes exploring a little easier since we will not have to cut many holes. As we go from hole to hole it is apparent that we are not in the spot that we want to be. We will visit this spot again in the morning. Hopefully the fish will be there then. So the day is wrapped up.
Day Two Prefishing
The day breaks with some more of the intense wind and cold. This will not slow the persuaders from exploring the lake. As with prefishing there is reflection on the previous days events and in the case of the persuaders there are rod repairs to be made. Before we begin to review the previous day I cannot help myself from kidding Chris on the escaping bait. Escaping bait you may wonder. Well the story goes like this. Somewhere in the midst of the confusion that evening Chris had discovered while putting gear away that the spikes (eurolarva) were crawling all over the floor and dresser. So with this being revealed it is time that we take to the ice with the now well exercised bait in a properly sealed container. The plan for the day is to cover a good variety of fish holding structure and do more exploring with the underwater camera. First stop is a place that we had passed up the day before. This spot is nothing extravagant but something that needs attention. As with all locations the task of drilling holes must be accomplish first. With little discussion it is agreed that we need a caddy for the next season. A caddy you may ask. Yes this individual would be needed to drill the holes for the day. As with most sports there is a guy in the background helping out. With the holes being drilled we explore the area looking for some positive activity on our flashers. As we methodically pick through the holes it has come to our understanding that there would be better odds of catching a perch in a parking lot. Time to go for a nice long ride and find something a lot more interesting and hopefully much more productive. This journey is just full of obstacles and hazards that put us and our gear through a beating. So we arrive in this area once again not a random spot but one that was chosen through scouting and social skill. As we are surveying the area there is a sweet odor in the air. This is interesting but puzzling since it is a smell that is familiar to us both. As we go off and ready ourselves to fish the area Chris holds up a half empty can. Laughing he tells me that the other half of the contents are in the bottom of his shelter. Now we fish with the sweet smell of redbull in the air. This area has provided much info for us to use for the coming day. As the rest of the day progresses it is much of the same hopping from spot to spot exploring both shallow and deep areas. With all of the last two days entertainment and scouting we head back to the launch to ready ourselves for the big day.
The time is 5:00am and there is already the sound of anglers getting their equipment lined up for inspection. We are going through the checklist to make sure nothing is forgot about. After we are ready it is time to hit the line up. The day greets us with as predicted little wind and clear skies. A complete opposite from the days before and hopefully the fish will be turned on. In the line up we are not quite at the front of the pack but towards the end and this is fine for us. As with our style we are into busting out the jokes and humor with another team. This humor helps cut the anticipation of waiting since there has been weeks of planning leading to this day. Well the gear checks are done and it is go time. The teams hit the ice and it is like the parting of the sea. Teams go left and teams go right as we head off to our spot. Once we arrive it is time to get set and ready for the persuading of the winning fish to the ice. With any tournament there is a scheduled start time and we arrive in our spot with plenty of time to drill enough holes to effectively look for fish. The Ice Gator (http://www.icegator.com/) makes such an efficient job of this. Within minutes all of our holes are set and the ones are chosen that seem to have perch lurking below. The time now is 6:40 and it is the official start of the tournament. Within seconds our jigs are down and methodically persuading the fish to strike. Today it appears we may not have to persuade. Just minutes into the event we both have had strikes with no hookups. Now our flasher screens are lit up and we both reel in remarkable fish. As quick as the action has heated up it has cooled off. Soon the fish are back below us and within moments the screens are lit like a Christmas tree. Our hearts are pumping and the seriousness is upon us. We need to do the one thing that has to be done and that is to go under darkness. This is getting into our shelters as to protect ourselves from lurkers. This battle keeps on going with us having strikes, missing fish and even landing a few quality fish. Shortly, the battle slows and we need to go searching for our opponents the mighty perch. Nearby they are discovered and our flasher screens light up and as quickly go dark. This is a battle like none that we have waged. As the time progresses through the morning the fish steadily come though the ice and into our buckets to await their date with the scale. At one point during this battle we discover our opponents are waging a tough battle and we have to both get on top of them and fish within just a few feet of each other to effectively put them in the bucket. It seems as though they are playing mind games on us and have taken this to a mental war. Now I begin to talk about moving and Chris makes the suggestion to stick it out and ice more of them. Once we have a good limit then we may move on to battle with others. I guess this is why we are a good team, since there is non stop entertainment and some outstanding fishing not to mention there is a calm force between us. Finally we have a comfortable limit of fish and it is agreed to go have fun sight fishing. So we pack up and get into the fish on our sight fishing spot. This gets our blood flowing again to get us into the finish and back to relaxing and having fun.
At the end we finished in fifth place with a total weight of 8.25 pounds for a limit of 12 perch. This was something to be proud of, a great end of the season and a start of the best team The Panfish Persuaders.
Good Luck and Tight Lines