I have mentioned this before, but I want to again point out our cooperative effort with the Omaha World-Herald on their GoOutdoorsNE.com outdoor page. I want to mention that again because recently Mark Davis from the “World-Herald” contacted me about doing an ice-fishing story. Now I have had several newspaper and TV folks on the ice to do ice fishing stories over the years. I am afraid some of them have frozen while they were with me, but if they are game, you know I am!
We ended up not having a lot of time to do the story, but fellow fisheries biologist Jordan Katt and I met Mark for a few hours one afternoon to see what we could do. Mark’s story ultimately highlighted ice safety and that is very appropriate right now, Davis: Rescue on Lake Manawa Points to Needs for Safety Measures. We surely are entering late winter and are on what ice anglers call “late ice”. It is certainly a time to be very careful of ice conditions; there are some reminders here if you want to see them”The Ice Man Cometh“. However, I do not think we are done ice-fishing yet and there may be some ice fishing in Nebraska for several days yet–JUST BE VERY CAREFUL!
We tapped one of Jordan’s fishing spots as I figured that might be the best chance we had to catch a fish for a newspaper story (thanks Jordan!). I can never guarantee that fish will be caught at anytime, but every time I have had a media person on the ice I was relatively confident at least one fish could be caught for the story. We did not catch many while Mark was with us, but we did “Get-R-Done”.
The main reason I want to blog about this now is Mark is very much a professional photographer and he sent me a few of the shots and said I could use them. Being the professional he was looking for “good light” and the afternoon we fished was cloudy. Mark was not happy with that, but was making the best of it. Jordan and I set out some tip-ups, I set a few extra for both the newspaper guy and myself, and then started jigging with other rods–needed some fish for pictures! I chased after a few “false flags” on the tip-ups, yes, the wind always blows in Nebraska. Finally, late in the afternoon the sun got low and started peaking under the cloud bank, another flag went up, and this time it was the real deal!
I knew that photo would be a good one, was really glad Mark shared it with me. The “shot” was snapped as soon as I lifted the fish from the hole; that pike was 33 inches.
Now let me say something about this next shot, it makes it look like I out-raced Jordan to the tip-up. I must point out that I am much older than Jordan, and I never broke a fast walk on the way to the flag.
We had to work on getting the hooks out, let me say again how important it is to have the right hook removal tools at hand, Fish Handling.
The hooks were way back in the mouth/throat so jaw spreaders were a must. I also have needle-nosed pliers with the longest “needle nose” I can get. We needed every inch of it, but we were able to get the hooks out.
When we got done there was quite a bit of blood on the fish. However, the fish was not bleeding at all–it was all my blood. You will notice in the fish handling blog I just linked to, I recommend wearing a pair of gloves. Well, do as I say, not as I do! I was ready with the pliers and jaw-spreaders, but hurried and did not put the gloves on. Naturally I got a few scrapes on my fingers and a nick on my thumb that would not quit bleeding. Luckily Jordan had a Band-Aid handy for me.
My family jokes, any time I get home from a fishing trip and ask for a Band-Aid when I walk through the door they know I have caught a big toothy.
And they know it has been a really good day!