Hunt Smart, Fish Hard

We heard the fish were biting through the ice at Rosseta Rod and Gun Club. Pete and I had a few more days to work, but our friend Frank told us he fished it Wednesday and the fish were biting anything you put under the ice. Frank worked the other shift and at this time of the year we told each other what was going on at the club. All of us loved to ice fish. Way back then, our ice tip-ups were made out of wood (not like the plastic ones today). 

Pete and I knew each other for a long time. We hunted, fished, shot and ice fished together. After Frank told us about his luck at the club, we decided we were going ice fishing on Saturday. Pete told me he had a surprise for me later. All I could do was get out of him it had something to do with fishing. Pete got that from me — “Ain’t telling you nothing.” It was Friday at work, and we talked about fishing all day. This was going to be a learning experience for me. 

This time I had to do everything. I was going to drill the holes with the hand held augur. I had to set up the fish tip-ups. I had to bait the hooks and set the tip-ups up. Last time, Pete did everything, and all I had to do was pull up the fish after the flag popped up. Today I was the student and had to put what Pete taught me into action. 

Pete and I drilled six holes. That is the only thing Pete helped me with. I took the first tip-up and pulled some line off the reel and put a squeeze sinker close to the end of the line. I messed up. I had to put the button on the line first, then the sinker. As I let line out, I would move the button up the line. When the sinker hit the bottom and I got a little slack in the line I was sure I was now on the bottom. I slide the button about 10 inches or so down the line. This would let me know I can fish about 10 inches of the bottom. 

I pull the lineup and a tie on a size 10 hook. I take the sinker and put it about 18 inches up the line. Now when I send the minnow down the ice hole the sinker will keep the minnow close to the bottom in case that is where the trout are. The next two tip-ups I set about halfway from the bottom, and the other two just about two feet under the water. We now had six tip-ups ready to go, two on the bottom, two in the middle and two on top. Once we start catching them we can adjust the depth of the other tips up to where we are catching them. As I bait up the first tip-up I asked Pete how I did. Pete said I did good. 

The minnows attracted the trout and the trout started sending flags up in the air. Pete told me to go get the cooler in the back seat of his car. The trout were hitting at all the tip-ups, on the top, on the bottom, or even the middle. Pete told me normally they hit at one depth, but today it was different. I asked Pete why we are putting the trout in the cooler instead of just leaving them on the ice. Pete just said, “You will see in a little while.” It took us about two hours and we had our limit. 

We load up car and head to Pete’s house. As I am cleaning the trout, Pete fires up the gas grill. I got all the trout cleaned and Pete comes out with foil paper and some spices. Pete sprays the foil with Pam non-sticking spray. We lay a trout on the foil. Pete sprinkles it with salt and pepper and a little garlic. Then he adds three slabs of real butter to the inside of the belly. He takes a lemon wedge and sprinkles a few drips onto the fish. We did this to all the trout. Pete folds up the foil and sets the trout on top of the grill. 

About 10-15 minutes later we started eating the best tasting and freshest grilled trout in the neighborhood. As we kicked back in the chairs drinking a cold one and eating fresh grilled trout, the outside cold temperature didn’t faze us a bit. When they say, “It don’t get any better than this,” somebody knew what they were talking about. 

Until next week- H.S.F.H.-L.M. 

If you want more content like this, support local journalism by purchasing the Times Virginian newspaper at a local newsstand or subscribing at www.timesvirginian.com/subscriber_services to receive the print edition and/or e-edition version.