1.09.2017

Mazonia Ice Fishing 2017 - Outing #1

Read below for Mazonia Ice Fishing dates for 2017

Earlier in the week, I wasn't sure where I planned on drilling some holes but I did know that I was going to introduce Teddy (Lucidfishing.com) to ice fishing!

Around Thursday, Ed (FSA Custom Rods) asked if I wanted to head to Mazonia and fish some of the back pits in the North Unit. That took me all of about three seconds to say yes and the plan was set.

We were supposed to meet up at a lake in the North Unit at 7:00am before setting off on the grueling hike to pits we wanted to fish. As I pulled up, to the gate, I noticed a sign that made me say, "Uhmmmmmm"

So, I sent Ed a text...


Clearly, by Ed's response, the plan was still on...I just got there too early.

Or did I?

He called me a few minutes later while I drove to a different entrance for the North Unit (which was also closed with the same sign) and said that the gates won't open till 7:00am

OK - no sweat, I'll sit here for a few more minutes...

7:00am came...gate still locked. No sweat, the ranger probably just opened the other gate first and is surely on his way to open this one.

7:03am - stilllll locked. Phone rings...it's Teddy. He's at the gate I first stopped at and it's locked.

So, I google the main office's phone number, call, and ask if the North Unit is open to fishing yet.

Nope - not till February 16th.

What?!

"OK...what about the South Unit?"

"That's still closed except for Monster Lake.

Well this stinks!!!

Ed had either heard from a reliable source or read that Mazonia opened up after December 31st for ice fishing. Apparently, dates changed a bit this year due to some different hunting seasons.

So, with no other viable choice, we caravanned it to Monster Lake and started making our way to the area we decided to fish.

To help carry get everything out there, I got to test my new ice fishing sled!!


I rigged that puppy up with the Hobie H-Crate and a couple of Railblaza II rod holders!! It absolutely made dragging two augers, three flashers, a bunch of rods, and some other various stuff a lot easier than having to carry it. For $35, you can't beat it!!

Once we made it to our target area, we drilled some holes...and some more...and some more

The ice was plenty thick...at least six inches. It was also building throughout the day. The cracks and pops, as it did, were like thunder racing across the lake. Some you heard...others you felt as the ripped under your feet...

It took a little while to find some fish but we did. I believe Ed started it off with some crazy micro gill. Seriously, I didn't think that a fish that small could actually get its mouth around a hook any bigger than a size 28 dry fly hook!

Nonetheless, it was a fish! We all proceeded to start catching and figured out a pattern. Dark jig...suspended about midway in the water column...spikes or waxies didn't seem to matter much. I did better on waxies while Ed did better with spikes. Teddy, I think, did OK on either.

Speaking of Teddy, here is he is with his first ice fishing catch ever!!


Good thing he had that FSA Custom Rod to handle that behemoth!!

All in all, I was able to bring home about eight eater gills. I don't typically keep fish but once a year, I don't mind a small amount for a good ole fashioned fish fry. And yes, the kitchen still smells like bluegill slime. HA!

As mentioned in the beginning, Dale Bowman - Chicago Suntimes Outdoor Columnist - released an updated schedule for fishing Mazonia this winter. 
North Unit - is closed through February 15th due to rabbit hunting season
South Unit - closed through January 15th die to deer hunting season
Monster Lake remains open year round






1.03.2017

A New Year - A New Thing

Hello all!!

Truth be told, I have been neglecting the livin snot out of this thing!! Instagram has really been captivating me lately and is just so easy to share stuff there.

While I absolutely plan to continue with my Instagram page (link here), I have really been missing this blog. With that, my resolution this year is to get back in the saddle and start writing!!

Since it is a new year, I figured that a great place to start would be with my new way of feeling that tug that is so very much a drug...ICE FISHING!!

Yep, I've finally stopped fighting it and have gone all in on thing called ice fishing.

As of right now, I have three different rod/real combos - two of which are ultra lights and the other a light action. Ed over at FSA Custom Rods has a stick waiting for me as well!! In addition, I've purchased my first auger - a 6" Strikemaster Lazer, a sled, and even picked up a used Vexilar FL-8 flasher! Of course, I've picked up a handful of various ice jigs/lures as well.

So far, I have had about five outings and have been more and more drawn to it the more I do it. One of the the biggest, and absolute best, surprises so far has been how much my five year old (L1) loves it!

I told him about the whole idea a few weeks ago and he seemed strangely excited. I think that there was something really appealing to him about walking on the ice. As I started gathering enough stuff to actually get out there and try to catch a fish, an opportunity to get out presented itself so I took it - here's how it went down:

I didn't have an auger yet but as I was driving home from work one day, I saw a couple of guys ice fishing on the front yard pond. As soon as I walked in the door,  I told L1 that when they leave, we can go use the holes that they had drilled.  I don't think ten minutes had passed before I saw their car driving away. In record speed, we got all of our winter clothes on and we were off!

When we got to the pond, I walked out on the ice to make sure it was safe before letting L1 out there. As soon as I said that it was safe, and started walking back to get him, he took his first step on to the ice....and was on his butt just as quickly. I couldn't help but laugh which meant he laughed.

I helped him up and we shuffled our feet to the first hole that we wanted to try...we never left that hole. Over the course of the next half hour, we hooked and landed twenty seven little bluegills!! In all reality, he caught the majority of them and I had a blast watching him and the Vexilar. Without actually fishing, I got to coach him and feel the anticipation of the bite when we would see them show up on the finder. So much fun!!

Working it like a pro!

And there it is!! His first ice fish!!! 
As we walked home from the pond, he couldn't wait to tell Mommy how many fish we caught! We opened the door, and he yelled, "Mommy! We caught like one trillion fish!!!" Pure pure excitement!!

After that outing, I hit the pond a couple more times (just for short little fixes) and even met up with a fishing buddy who has been into this ice fishing thing for waaaaay longer than I! We definitely put a whoopin on the fish that day as well including a few nicer ones!


On Saturday, my auger finally came! L1 and I were both really excited to give it a try so we headed back to the pond. We drilled a few holes and got a few fish but they just weren't nearly as active as they were the previous outing. With the sun being so bright instead of cloudy like the last time, I figured the fish were probably a bit deeper so I popped a hole in one of the deeper spots on the pond.

Within a minute, it was clear that this was the right move. After a number of bluegills, it slowed down a bit. I could see that there were still fish hugging the bottom but they just didn't want to come up. L1was bouncing the bottom as I was watching the flasher when, finally, a big red mark quickly made it's way on to the screen. L1 teased the fish up a bit higher in the water column and then just let the tiny jig sit still. After what felt like an eternity of waiting, the rod tip indicator went down and he set the hook. Instantly, I knew it was a bigger fish than we had been catching. The little two foot long ultra light rod was bent over from tip to handle and the drag was making noise. I could see flashes of light through the ice and I had a feeling that he hooked a bass.

About a minute later, the fish came through the hole and L1's face was stunned, beyond excited, and told you every emotion he was feeling!!


I can't describe how excited I was watching him...

I have no clue why I put this off for so long...these times have been beyond words!

9.09.2016

My latest interview on Kayak Fishing via Stray Casts Show!!


Fellow Hobie Fishing Team member, Teddy Wozny, and I had a blast talking with the Stray Casts folks about kayak fishing and kayak tournaments!!!

It was an honor to do the show...a show that has featured huge names in the Bass Fishing World including Ish Monroe, Fred Roumbanis, and Mike Iaconelli!

Our segment comes in around the 9 minute mark




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