Sunday, December 25, 2011

Fishin with the Shem-ster


Shem Carlson is my cousin-in-law.  I don't think that is a legal name for our relationship, but that is what I call him!  He married my uncle Tom and aunt Glenda's daughter Carly, my first cousin, so it has to be a cousin and it has to be an in-law, so he is my cousin-in-law.

We went ice fishing today and invited Shem to come hang with the boys.  We actually had all of my six kids, two of Matt and Sarah's, uncle Seth, and of course Shem.  That made three girls and............lots of boys.  There were already three guys on the ice when we showed up and they got a little nervous when we all piled out of the vehicles!  Especially when I started looking for places near them to drill nine holes.  They relaxed when we headed down the lake to our alternative spot and made camp there.  Once they left we split up and took over both places.

I think this was Shem's first time ice fishing.  Unfortunately it was a little slow, but we caught fish and had fun.  It was Christmas Eve; what better way to spend a holiday than freezing to death on a lake of ice with family?

Since this was his first time out we were "showing-him-how-to-do-it", so this is a "how-to" post, very unorthodox, for sure, but a "how-to" none the less.

FIRST drill a hole.  This was a problem because none of us own an auger.  I always meant to buy one when we lived in Wyoming, but I didn't need to........all my friends had them, some were even gas operated.  Today we borrowed one from a friend.  We found out when we picked it up that it was quite dull and required two to run it. 


I am providing this photo for those of you that have NEVER had the pleasure of using an ice auger of this caliber.  The guy on the bottom had to be fairly tough, because every third or forth revolution of the handle clubbed you in the back of the head.  Here Shem and Tyler drill another hole.  Needless to say we didn't do much exploring today.  Thankfully Seth caught some nice fish and really enjoyed himself so maybe he will buy one.............that would be great, because now that I need to buy one I can't.  Kim has put a hold on my fishing purchases.  The other day she actually asked me, "really, how many tackle boxes does someone need?"  What kind of question is that?  You can't answer!  It all depends on the type of lures, baits, jigs, beads, flies, spinners, spoons, and trolls one accumulates!  Honestly the question cut me deep!  

Find a suitable bucket to sit on, rig up your rod with your favorite colored jig, tip it with bait (if legal), smear it with smelly jelly, drop it to the bottom, reel up a foot or so and wait..............this is the fun part!  Ice fishing isn't like other types of fishing.  You need room to fish on open water so you can "work the clock" casting to all the minutes of angle around you.  When limited to a vertical column of water under a six to eight inch hole, fishing gets cozy.  It's time to eat, drink, and be merry, because if the fish aren't biting your going to have to find some way to take your mind off the numbness slowly entering your feet and making its way to your brain. 


This is Jared, he is six and already has the fishing disease.  He stayed out on the ice all day, catching only one fish and believing it was a BLAST!  We can safely assume he is a little dangerous, but probably fairly harmless in his young and tender age. 

Catch fish!  Uncle Seth was the first to hit pay dirt with this 18 inch rainbow.  I love to listen to Seth giggle when he fishes.  Its an infectious laugh that warms the half frozen body of an ice fisherman.  The older kids made camp around uncle Seth to "hear-his-words-of-wisdom".  It was fun to listen to them banter and laugh across the ice.  Shem finally got bored of me and made his way to where the fun was at.  It also helped that he really wanted to catch a fish and Seth was the only one doing it. Of course once everyone started moving in on him we all had to hear about the scum we were for hording in on his honey hole. Tyler actually had the audacity to ask Seth to move his bait to the furthest left side of his six inch ice hole so he could drop his in on the right.  Seth got a good laugh out of this and then threatened something only he can come up with!

Jared was the next to catch a fish.  Shem had just left us, Matt was driving away, and the once thriving camp had dwindled to just Jared and dad.  I looked over, just in time, to see the pink rod tip bounce once, twice, then bend in full.  I set the hook, handed the rod to Jared's outstretched hands and watched the battle.  I recorded the last of it for you.   We were only in about 15 feet of water, so it doesn't take long to get the fish to the hole and through it.  By the time I had the video on, Jared had pulled the fish through the ice and was yelling for all to hear. 

Tyler was the next to hook a fish.  He was playing around on the ice, laying down, joking around with Seth, when his rod started dancing.  He slipped and slid his way to his rod, grabbing it as he slid past it, setting the hook as he fell.  He quickly rolled up onto his knees and fought the fish through the ice.  He bought this rod in Wyoming and hadn't christened it yet, for himself.  Everyone else had landed a fish on it at Guild's, but he just couldn't connect with a fish until today.   

It was such a nice fish and the jig he was using so bright, we decided it warranted some extra photos. 

These fish are really healthy and put up a good fight.  The reservoir is shallow, mostly 10-15 feet deep and the high desert environment grows football shaped rainbows in just a few short years.   I can't wait get back out here this spring with the fly rods and tangle with these fish on a sinking line and a wooly bugger.  

Shem was the next to connect to a fish.  I'm not sure he understands how big his fish is.  Seth couldn't stop talking about the size of it on the way home.  I was impressed and took quite a few pictures of it.  The big, hook jawed male, was dripping milt.  His dark back and rose colored sides are beautiful.  Seth's first fish was 18 inches; we measured it when we got home.  This puts Shem's fish between 20 and 22 inches, a real brute.  Fish of this size just have an awesome look to them, like a big, mature mule deer buck.  A 20 inch trout is pretty magical, it represents a fish that's been around a few years, a trophy. We had a nice photo session with it.

This is Tyler helping Shem get a hold of his fish for pictures.  They are a little slimy on the ice and you just can't hold a 20 inch fish like you can a pan sized trout.  They require "the-steelhead-hold", you know, tailed and supported.

Seth and Tyler were making some pretty fun comments and Shem was having fun.  This is a great picture, a little washed out, but still a great picture.

I want to make these two pictures extra large, but you loose some of the picture, so I'll have to be happy with "large" only.  I love the crimson gill plates, the cutthroat like coloring under the jaw and the big, dark, sparse spotting of this fish.

We had to have a picture of the day ending even though we weren't done fishing.  We still had a few more fish to catch, but the sun was dropping, all the other fisherman were headed home and we were late.  Every time we tried to leave someone caught a fish.  It's impossible to pick up and leave when there is the possibility you have just entered the magical time of day when all the fish in the reservoir want to eat your jig NOW.  So we had to fish another 20 minutes to make sure we didn't miss it.  The fishing was slow, but consistent, past 2 O'clock.

While these guys posed with their fish, Corey landed another one.  It was a keeper and his first for the day.  Abbie had "stolen" his rod earlier in the day, so he pouted most of the time and didn't fish until everyone else had left.  HE IS SUCH A DRAMA QUEEN!  Even then he was just a vulture, circling the rods, waiting for someone else's work to pay off for him, which it finally did.

Corey's keeper.  He caught another one after this one, but it was only six to eight inches long.  He released it back to the reservoir to be caught next year when it's 14 inches of crazy fish.   Jared was walking between camps and actually saw a really big fish cruising just under the ice.  He said he walked right up on it.  We asked him how big it was and he held his hands out wide, that fish would have scared a salmon had they been swimming next to each other.  His guess on length might have been off, but it doesn't surprise me he saw a fish swimming around under the ice.  It's only six or so inches thick and pretty clear.  

This is Tyler's last fish and the last one of the day.  We got some extra photos, cleaned up the place and headed to grandma and grandpa's house for a turkey dinner and present opening. 

I had to finish off this post with Jared landing his fish.  He isn't excited at all.