I have heard tell of an old home remedy for people suffering from the general malaise associated with a Maine winter. The ancient elixir consists of equal parts muscular torment drilling holes in the surface of an icy lake, a health dose of freezing your butt off and adrenaline laced rock ride when the flags are up and the fish are biting. If that doesn’t give you a swift kick in the rear and jump start your winter then nothing will.
At 55 acres we weren’t fishing what would actually be considered BIG waters but foot travel and deep snow has a way of making even small distances seem massive. As I crossed the frozen lake my exhalations created huge plumes of frozen vapor that circled my head and fogged my sunglasses. Each deep breath of the cold dry air the negative air slammed into the back of my throat causing me to break into a coughing fit. The deck thermometer had registered -10 F before the sun had awoken from its fitful slumber. Now, since rising and despite the intense solar rays the mercury still refused to budge.
With the annoyance level of a small child dragging their fingers down a chalkboard; each of my footsteps creaked nosily across the snow surface causing intermittent shivers up my spine. Peering through my ice encrusted Oakleys I could faintly see our destination, a small finger of land jutting out into the small pond. From many previous trips to this location I knew that an impressive yellow perch fishery lay just 14 inches below the ice.
The old Jiffy ice auger coughed, wheezed and finally sputtered to life like an asthmatic struggling for a strained last breath at a dust mite convention. Despite the bitching and complaining the old warhorse had drilled five impressive ten inch holes within minutes and rattled just about ever filling out of my skull.
As we spread out over the hard water drilling hole after hole our combined efforts left the lake surface the consistency of well aged Swiss cheese. With perch fishing it is all about location, location, location and we were searching for the prime real estate.
Well, it didn’t take long to get the yellow perch to start biting and even with several jig pole working overtime, our tempting minnow supply soon become depleted. Thus was the signal to pack-up the equipment and make the hike back to civilization. Returning back to the homestead I had fun trying out the 30 second perch filleting method and only managed to lose one finger in the process. Not to worry I reattached it myself using some duct tape.