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> Trials and Tribulations. Nip closer.
Northhunter
Posted: Mar 16, 2020 - 05:18 pm


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So this year came down to the wire. Like many, we do an annual "Nip Trip" and spend a couple days in the bungalows. Talk started in Nov. 5 guys became 3, then became 2. Then my partner in crime back in early Feb. told me he couldn't commit. We spent a pretty depressing few weeks trying to navigate life and clung to a hope and a prayer that we wouldn't miss a 2nd year. Not to mention the added financial burden of teacher strikes, etc. and trying to book a party of 2.

Everything came to a head last week. We booked Wednesday. Our host told us we'd be in 28ft and the fishing was good. 3 huts iced 5 keepers on the weekend and before that the perch were steady. We were pumped. Got on the ice late Fri with a new operator but happy to be there. The ride out wasn't pretty. Windy as hell and wet. We got set up and had a good solid 2 1/2 hours of non stop action. Perch, bass and walleye. No keepers. We put one against the tape that was 3cm short and put a half dozen jumbos on the ice.

The wind was something fierce. There was little to no snow to pack around the huts and it whipped underneath, wreaking havoc with lines and blowing up into the hut. The bite was good but fishing was tough.. gettting light baits down 28ft was a tedious affair and once set up, it was harder than usual to detect light bites. We normally fish all night, but pulled all but one line around 9 and covered the holes. It was the only way we would get any sleep.They forcasted 50km winds with 70km gusts. That turned to 80km gusts actual. The hut creaked, shifted and vibrated. Inside we drank, smoked, ate and laughed. In a tiny little hut 3km or so out from real shelter and land, we were in our happy place.

Saturday started out strong but tapered off. The wind would die down and fish would come and go. Flurries of action.. double headers and multiple fish on the flashers, then nothing. Aside from a 2 or 3 hour lull in the afternoon we were into perch and walleye pretty steady. We found out talking to our neighbours that the fishing was better the day before. They were able to land one 20 incher.
Pinheads were producing 90% of the fish. We would get hits on the bigger bait but would miss lots of hooksets or end up with dink perch killing the offering.
I rigged up a special rig. A 1/8oz green/chartreuse lindy jig with a gamatsu trebble tied off with 10lb flouro as a stinger. Jig through the tail, treble in the front with the shiner able to swim free. Tying up the rig I managed ro get the treble stuck in my coat, and told the story of how a 4lb 'eye drove a loose gamatsu treble, shank deep into my thumb several years back. Around 4 I started using the largest shiners in the bucket. I wanted meat. We wanted the elusive legal Nip gold.
Got a hit around 5. The rod tip told the tale. It oscillated up and down slightly as the sacrificial shiner kicked down below. Then a "tap", followed by nothing for a moment before it began to slowly sink down towards the hole. It was texbook walleye hit. I grabbed the rod and gave slack, then lifted slightly feeling for weight before setting the hook. The fish got about halfway up before starting to really fight, then it started pulling drag... "this ain't a perch". Got it to the hole and it's a... pike. 1st of the trip. About 3lbs. We keep it. Partly out of frustration and maybe a little but of payback. We fish hard into witching hour. We would ice a few jumbos, and lose potential keeper fish. Around 6:30 we get one 1cm short. About 8 the bite has pretty well tapered off, and it's looking grim. We haven't got a fish for a bit and the holes start icing up. Then another tap on the "meat" rod. The process from the pike repeats itself. But a chunky, feisty walleye comes up the hole. "This one's close!". "You got it?".. "Yeah". I have the rod in my left hand lifting a thrashing walleye's head to the top of the hole and I try to grab it with my right, but it's putting up a good fight. Then I remember the treble and under the headlamp I can't see it. I struggle for a tense 20 or 30 seconds and my buddy goes "You want the grip?"... "Maybe. Yeah". The fish is still thrashing trying to turn and get back down and I struggle with the grip, but by some miracle get the fish out (the stinger was hooked in the fish but had broken off, only the jig held). I get the fish up against the tape.. we know it might be it. I get the nose lined up as my buddy watches on and shouts "Jeff!" .. the tail straightens out and it's follwed by a hefty "YEAH!" and high fives. It's 18.5. A trophy lol It would turn out to be the last fish of the night. It rested on the ice while twilight gave way to darkness outside. Inside we celebrate with steaks and beer.

We passed out early and slept in Sun. A cold snap had hit overnight and with no snowpack, froze up the holes pretty good. By the time we got everything set and coffee on, we had about an hour to fish. The bite was better. Put a couple nice perch on the ice and caught a number of walleye jigging before we had to leave. We didn't want to leave... found out our neighbours had caught a 9lb ling that night on tiny pjnhead shiner after we talked to one of them about the lake and how to target the perch. They were a group with a couple Nip newbs.. bet they're hooked.

We used a new operator. Guy named Shaun, who is actually Nick's neighbour (from Rob's.. Hyatt's old operation). He baught Bam's which just had 4 huts and was previously up near Lavigne. The sale included 10 lisences so he plans to slowly expand and fix things with the per-existing huts. Great guy with a sense of humor who spends a lotta time on the lake. Fishes bass tournaments in the summer. Moves his huts as the season progresses. So gents, add another one to the list.

That's it for 2020. Come on May!

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Chevy
Posted: Mar 16, 2020 - 06:11 pm


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An absolutely fantastic read. I felt like I was right there with you.
You finished the season off in style Northhunter. Thanks for sharing your story.

Cheers
Kerry

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Neil
Posted: Mar 16, 2020 - 06:28 pm


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Sounds like a successful few days Northhunter.
It looked pretty slushy out there on Saturday.

Neil

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FatRap
Posted: Mar 18, 2020 - 02:53 pm


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Sounds like you guys had a great time and some decent fishing, glad you were able to get this trip together and make it happen. Would hate to have to miss an annual trip up to the Nip

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