Sportsmen and women shift from ice fishing to open water fishing
Written by Associated Press   
Wednesday, 02 March 2005 11:46
Beware the Ides of March is something I have said ever since I took Latin in high school and the 15th of the month rolled around.

When I was young I thought ides were fish. That's why I probably recall them today, because I grew up thinking they were fish.

One thing March does mean is sportsmen and women are shifting their minds from ice fishing to open water fishing.

It may be hard to believe, but it won't be long before we are casting, trolling and still-fishing for our favorite - favorite in this case means catching, cleaning and sitting down to a tasty dinner of fish fillets.

I, for one, am going to miss the taste of fish pulled from cold water and fried to perfection as soon as they are boned and ready for the table.

While I like to eat fish all year, the fish taken from cold water seem to fit my palate in a special way.

We all have to live through some cold weather before we take our boats out for the first time. That's why I consider spring to be best time for shore-fishing on a lake or a river.

Hopefully, there still will be a little snow around, and I can dump the fish in a bucket filled with snow that will be clinging for survival in gullies and under evergreen trees along a river or lake shoreline.

One of my favorite baits is a small plastic ball implanted with various scents to attract the fish and stimulate them to eat. Even in cold water the scents implanted in the lures emit an odor that fish sometimes go bonkers over.

I dress warmly for early spring fishing and get double-duty out of my deer hunting togs.

Catching fish is a lot more exciting when you don't have to hop around to keep warm. And don't forget warm gloves to keep fingers nimble.

I suppose I use a bobber whenever possible, because my hands stay in the gloves or my pocket until the bobber starts to wiggle on the surface of the lake or river.

I prefer plastic baits that have a shot of something in them that oozes out consistently and draws fish to its scent.

Sometimes small minnows and worms will work, but the price to pay is through your hands - hands which get cold no matter how efficient you are. Even subjecting your fingers to the cold, even if only for a few seconds at a time seems to spoil the outing.

Spring is a special time for all types of fishermen - especially those who fished through the ice most of the winter. It's a time to be aware of and have verbal contact with those around you.

Admit it: Ice fishing is great. But after many days and umpteen hours of sitting alone in a shanty for protection from the weather gets a little stale.

Soon we'll all be able to fish outdoors, visit with those around us and maybe pick up a tip from the guy next to you who is catching most of the fish.

In the area where I live in East Tawas, I look forward to the day that I can fish open water and chat with friends I haven't seen since deer season. Most of us have fished alone through the ice on Lake Huron.

Others have scattered far and wide to favorite inland waters in search of bluegills and perch, and from what I've heard, some of the smaller lakes have been producing bigger panfish than those caught on Lake Huron.

Yes sir, times are a-changing, and I for look forward to a new fishing season. First the perch and bluegills and later on in the spring brown trout that frequently visit the neighborhood.

But most of all, it will be nice to visit with old buddies, some of whom go into hibernation, or the sunny South, which is the same thing, and find out how they spent the winter.

The heavy snows of the past winter meant a lot of grunt work. Mowing the lawn is a lot easier that shoveling snow.

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