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    Soup Sandwich

    I keep track of my fishing days. My wife calls it “being all geeky”. She’s probably right but I do it anyway. I keep track of the date, what the water/ice was like, the temp, the pressure if I have it, what I caught and where, who I went with, and anything notable. It’s one part for posterity and one part for getting back on fish at a later date. Geeky is probably a fair assessment. Some of those days have names. One day is labeled “No Hitter” and another is named “Wallhanger”. One day has the dubious distinction of being called “Trauma Alert” (don’t ask). As for December 23rd, 2013, it will forever be known as “Soup Sandwich”.

    “Soup Sandwich” should have probably been scrubbed from the start. My ice auger went to the shop a few days before. I borrowed a loaner auger from a buddy. The night before, Cory and I discussed the prospect of calling the trip off. The forecast and the fact that I had to borrow an auger gave me a bad vibe. Ultimately, we decided we ought to give it a try. “You never know, man. Maybe tomorrow we’ll pull something awesome” I told Cory. It was on for sure.

    We left town (late) and headed up. When we got to the lake the fellas started to unpack while I pulled the auger out to let it warm up. It wouldn’t turn over. Not even a little bit. We fought with it for awhile before I decided that it was time to go to Plan B. It was not long before I realized that, while packing in the dark, I left Plan B in the shed. Plan B is my hand auger. I almost never forget to pack it. Undeterred, we headed out on the ice and found some holes drilled out, presumably, the day before. I used my spud bar to chisel out two of them so we could at least put out some tip-ups.

    The guys were discouraged, I was mad, the day seemed to be a wash. Cory’s suggestion was “let’s just pack it in and go to Colonial House for breakfast”. My brother agreed. Just as we were ready to bag it, another fisherman showed up. He told us he was only going to drill a few holes and then we were more than welcome to drill with his. I pointed him to some good spots and decided we would fish some areas where I’d had moderate success not too far away. We drilled about a dozen holes and thought aloud that the rest of the day should get better.

    Suffice to say that between uncooperative fish, a broken rod, a broken reel (on a different rod than the one that broke), miserable cold, and on the way home a tear in my ice shack, the day did not get any better. Tails between our legs we headed home. The ride seemed much longer going back than it did coming up. The culmination and indisputable proof that the trip should have been scrapped from beginning was when I returned the auger to my friend. I handed it to him as we discussed possible reasons for its failure to start. “I don’t know” he said. He took a good look, pulled the string, and lo and behold it started on the second pull. “Yup” I said quietly, “We shoulda stayed home”.

    My Dad likes to remind me that the worst day fishing is always better than the best day at work. I like to remind my Dad that I have the coolest job in existence and that statement in particular is not always applicable. That saying is especially untrue in the case of “Soup Sandwich”.

    “Soup Sandwich” days, though, are almost necessary. If all of the days on the lake were banner ones I probably wouldn’t appreciate them as much. A person has to have just a little aggravation occasionally in order to keep things interesting. An intermittent “Soup Sandwich” day keeps me on my toes and reminds me that no matter how many tools and tricks I bring to the lake, there are greater powers at work and I should be thankful for each opportunity I get to go out.



    Fishing Report

    First, with the recent warm weather some of the ice around is getting questionable at-best. I took two steps on New Underwood Dam and immediately got off. Tisdale Dam looked sketchy enough from the hilltop above I didn’t drive down. The same is reportedly true for New Wall Dam. Remember to take precautions and be safe heading out. Even in January things can get a little soft around here.

    Pactola continues to produce nice Lake Trout anywhere between 55-100 feet of water. All of the ones I have seen were caught on shiners or fatheads just a couple feet off of the bottom. Sheridan Lake is pumping out outstanding Northern Pike. I have yet to fish it, but the folks who have say to concentrate on weed lines and inside turns. Depth for these pigs varies between 6 and 24 feet.

    Center Lake did very well for myself and some friends recently. Swedish Pimples with waxies in 14 feet of water were the ticket. Jig from the bottom up all the way to the top of the water column as we were catching fish at all depths.

    Finally, for those who fancy a Missouri River run, I’d like to suggest the Pollock area. We took 13 guys to the West Pollock resort and every one of us caught lots of fish. The bay adjacent to the resort area was full of Walleye, Northern Pike, and some outstanding Crappie. We were all very pleased with the accommodations at the resort in addition to the fine fishing and a trip up there is most certainly worth your time.

    That’s it for this edition of Black Hills Bites. Thanks for reading and here’s hoping your next trip features a menu with steak and potatoes rather than “Soup Sandwich”. Fish On!

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