“It was an early Saturday morning for Bear Cub and I as we were fishing in the Devil Creek Ice Fishing Derby. Thankfully Mama Bear has done the logistical preparation the night before by making sandwiches and providing us both with lots of snacks, coffee (for me) and hot chocolate (for BC).
We loaded the truck with the items that would not do well overnight in sub-zero temperatures including our bait that I had forgotten and MB ran out to us as I put the truck in gear. And then we were off!!
As we headed north we watched the temperature gauge drop to minus -4 degrees. BC and I chatted for a little while and then as the truck warmed up BC took a nap. 30 minutes late I nudged BC awake as I took the exit to Devil Creek Reservoir .
We both looked down on a parking lot already filled with four wheel trucks of every major brand. I can safely say that there were no Toyota Prius’s, Chevy Volt’s, or Ford Fusion’s getting under anyone feet at this event….
Before long we were on the ice and had the shelter set up with both catalytic heaters on high. All around us were shelters of the other competitors. At 8am a flare was shot up to signal that we could dig our holes in the ice an start fishing.
During the next 7 hours there were high points, low points, elation and one episode of Tourette Syndrome by yours truly….We had long periods of nothing happening, where BC got another nap in, moments of anticipation of a bite as we watched fish appear near our jigs, frustration as we watched fish rise up to our jigs only to slide back to the bottom, the amazement of hooking a fishing only to have it somehow release itself,
The lowest point was when BC had stepped out of the shelter for a few minutes. I hooked a fish and, as I watched it come up to the hole, I realized that it was a big fish (20 plus inch range). It’s head came up to the hole and……..the hook came out of its mouth!! There followed the before mentioned cussing session, just as BC came back to the tent. I was despondent for a little while but we still had a few hours left so all was not lost.
With just under an hour to go there was a flurry of fish around our lures. BC hooked one and the fight was on!! He reeled in, line reeled out. A few minutes later he landed an 18 3/4 inch beauty. Seeing as only fish over 15 inches could be measured, we hailed a recorder who took the measurement and sent it up to the competition booth in the parking lot. The recorder said that it was the biggest one for this hour but we still had 45 minutes to go!!! I apologize for the poor quality of the photo.
Between fishing and nail biting, the last 45 minutes went by and as the second flare of the day shot into the sky, we packed up and headed to the truck. After loading the truck up, we headed to the competition booth to see if BC had won the biggest fish of the hour.
Unfortunately, BC’s fish was beaten by a fish that was an inch longer.
While disappointed in the results of the day, BC was quick cheer up and to point out that he had out-fished me for the third weekend in a row by the score of 2-1.
Such is life…..” ~ PB