Have you ever gotten a Christmas present you really like, but just can’t use? I got a cast iron skillet once. I even asked for it. It makes anything you cook in it taste great, but it’s a pain to clean, and a bigger pain to season. It was a great gift, but I just don’t use it, because as you know, Teflon is a great thing.
I also got a wildlife seasoning set once for a gift. It sure looks like it’ll make some good duck and goose recipes. Too bad I’m not much of a waterfowl hunter. About 8 years ago, I got a brand new red-n-white spearing decoy for Christmas from my father in law. I hadn’t speared since the last winter I was in High School. I graduated in 1987. I didn’t own a spear, much less a spear house. About a year ago, I found that red-n-white still in the package. I told myself, “Self, you should really take up spearing again.”
Being a little bit handy with a saw and a hammer, I figured I’d build me a little spearing shack, probably about a 4x6. With 2 kids under 3 years old, projects like building a fish house just don’t get done.
The other day, I was out scoping out some predator hunting spots, and I came across a local good ol’ boy that everyone refers to as “Punk”. The rumor in the area is that Punk builds a pretty nice ice spear. I asked him if he was still in the spear-building business. My heart sank when he said “Nope…not really…” but I was quickly elated when he continued “…but I gotta build a couple for the guys at work. I can sure put one together if you need one.” A quick handshake, 3 days, and a small stack of 20 dollar bills, and I had me a spear.
I was about to become a spear fisherman...again.
On a well deserved day off from my gainful employment, I grabbed my new spear, a small propane stove, my new red-n-white, the ice auger, and a black flip-top portable ice shack on a sled, and I went spearing. I knew this would be more of a learning experience than a real fishing outing. I hadn’t done this in 22 years and I knew something would be screwed up.
Like when I saw the camp chairs on sale at the bait shop, I realized I forgot my stool. Good thing they were cheap. When I got on the ice and found my spot, I cut my hole with my ice auger. It was then I realized I hadn’t brought one of my 3 ice scoops I have at home. Good thing for scrap pieces of plywood. After the slush was properly flung out of my hole, I set the house in a 15-20 MPH breeze, with no snow on the ice. I wedged my chisel and auger against the house and managed to keep myself from becoming a plastic-sledded wind-sailor. After the stove was lit, and the decoy hung, and with my new hi-tech weapon made by a guy named Punk, I started fishing.
I had sat for nearly an hour, trying to remember why I used to like this sport, when I saw the shadow on the bottom. I knew it wasn’t a pike. Dogfish? Maybe. Walleye? Surely not. Bass. I don’t think so. Sucker? Probably. I let it go. No sense in letting water into a fish that I can’t identify.
Right about now, I’m thinking I’m in need of some ichthyology class specializing in species identification. After about a dozen of these fish, one at a time, pass through my hole, I finally see the mouth on one that’s turned sideways. White Sucker. They fit right in the pickle jar, so I dropped the spear on a moving target, and hit it in the tail. One for one. his is easy.
Soon after, a good eater Northern Pike comes in left to right, I drop the spear, and…. I missed. So I raised the decoy to get above the cloud I created in the water, and about 30 seconds later, a nose is facing me on the far side of the hole. I slid the decoy closer to me and watched the nose slide a little closer, and….SCHMACK. A two and a half pound pike in the bag.
Twenty minutes later I grab the line to the red-n-white to do a little ballroom dancing with it, and as I give it the first pull, a two pounder literally rockets through the hole, missing my decoy by almost nothing. Without trying, I had ripped the decoy out from in front of his nose. That little pike spun around on a dime, leaving a nickel change, and was facing me on the far side of the hole. I had the same shot as the first pike, so I pull the decoy a little closer, the pike slides a little closer, and sploosh…. the spear comes up empty.
I missed that little pike, but I caught myself laughing at that little northern that missed my now trusty ol’ red-n-white that I got for Christmas way back when.
Submitted By: Greg