Trip to the UP of MI
Since the first tournament of the Team Extreme Ice Series was cancelled this past weekend, I decided to take a run north to the UP of MI and hit some waters I haven't fished in many years. The Friday night I got into Gogebic Co. park around 3:30 and set up for shallow water walleyes. After moving around jigging with a whole lot of nothing doing I decided to pull gear and call it a night. While pulling my second tip up I noticed there was a little extra weight on the line. Sure enough there was a small walleye about half the size of my sucker minnow on the other end. Saturday morning, I fished a new small lake that my uncle had told me about for bluegills. After marking a few fish with no takers and punching around 75 holes with my Strikemaster, I decided to get off the lake and head to Crooked lake. The last time I fished Crooked was 6yrs ago and we had a hard time catching bluegills under 10''. With high hopes I made my way onto the first lake and talked to two old timers to informed me the lake wasn't what it use to be due to high fishing pressure and guys taking all the big gills out of there. Due to bad ice conditions in the channel, I was stuck to fishing the first lake which wasn't a bad thing. I ended up catching a ton of dink gills and a few nice sunnies before the first crappie came to my slender spoon. Once I had enough fun catching fish on my new 13Fishing Widow Maker rods I decided to switch to my palm rod and practice tight lining. Let’s just say it got real stupid really quick. I had an hour window where my Branter jig and Maki plastic was getting hit every drop within 10 seconds. I ended up with a bunch of gills, a few crappies and two bass. I ended up breaking one crappie off that would have been my personal best. It ended up breaking 4lb test when it made a run and I was not able to get my glove off the spool quick enough. Once sun set hit things got very interesting very quick. While dropping my jig down in 14' of water, it would only get 4' down and it was off to the races with crappie after crappie coming up and inhaling my jig. Overall I ended up keeping 15 crappies for a fish fry and lost count on how many more I put back in the water. Sunday morning, I decided to go on a hunt for the Lake Gogebic monster perch. After talking to a local bait shop in Bergland MI, I was on my way to walk off the Gogebic Lodge. It didn't take long after setting my tip ups for walleyes for my first perch to come up to a Rapala Jigging rap tipped with three wax worms. The key was to stop jigging and keep the line as still as possible. For how light these perch hit, the sensitivity of my Widow maker worked perfectly detecting the bite. The first perch to hit was ice measured in at 12''. I decided to start hole hopping despite the advice I was given to stay put in one hole. Good thing I did, once in my second hole it didn't take long for two fish to show up on my Vexilar FLX 28. After working these fish for a minute my rod tip dipped down and the fight was one. Soon a 13.25'' walleye came to the hole. Over the next hour fishing slowed down with a lot of fish showing up but denying my jigging rap, with the exception for one small walleye. I decided to switch up my second widow maker to a Rapala Rippin Rap (perch color) in hope of calling a few more fish in. After working that rap for a few minutes I decided to pull it and of course the second it hit the top of the hole, a fish showed up on the vex. I sent the jigging rap down and once again was denied. Knowing there was at least one fish in the area I pulled the rap and sent the ripping rap back down. Shortly after I had two fish chasing up to it and my rod tip bent ever so slightly. After a few runs and a tank of a perch hit the hole measuring out at 13.5''. At that time, I decided to call it a day on a high note. Overall it was an awesome trip to the UP and great to finally be on ice. I can't wait till late ice to make another trip up there for the slab crappies. After finally getting to field test my new 13Fishing Widow Maker 37'' and 42'' light action rods, they get a 2 thumbs up!