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GatorBait

2011 Spearing Season

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I apologize for the late topic, our governor is trying to make my career and unpleasant thing so i've been in Madison the last 2 days. But I have some experiences to share with eveyone.

First and foremost, the thaw is causing a bad situation on lakes right now, especially on Winnebago. Both my shacks are off the ice, lots of water, landings will be practically unsafe tomorrow and many plowed roads are shutdown throughout the lake. If you don't need to be on it, don't take the chance.

Saturday's opener. I was off of Payne's Point in about 13fow with visibility being good. I could make out shad on the bottom but was just a bit stained. So the time passes, I'm bored, seeing hundreds of shad swim through and nothing else. 11am approaches I'm checking out the left side of the whole thinking I seen a shadow, pan over to the right and GODZILLA is coming through my hole. I literally froze as I couldn't believe the size of this thing.....as the head disappeared underneath me, I finally grabbed my spear, locked on to the body and let the spear sail through the water. Connection was made, voice activated cell phone for help, could not budge the beast to save my life. I peered down and could see the spear moving side to side which tells me I had a far back hit (not good). The fish began moving from right to left which offered me to gain a few feet in retrieval, but no sooner than that happened, the spear swang back into the hole......Just utterly sick to my stomach it was apparent I had only 1 tine in the fish. I'm no expert, but this fish easily went over 150lbs and 1 tine isn't going to hold her. So that one got away and my luck never got better since. So for the novice out there, some mistakes that were made in this experience: Don't freeze, Fish of this size require a square hit as close to the head as possible, which offers you more control of the fish, lastly, my position in the shack cost me everything. I decided to sit in the middle with the spear in front of me. Fortunately, this fish came on my right side and only had time to give a left hand guided throw. Now if I was on the right side of the shack I'd been able to simply throw right handed and make a straight down shot. Lesson learned! This fish was also 6 feet under the ice, 2 feet above my decoy, couldn't ask for anything better.

Sunday was big zero for many of us in my area, we made a move farther south for Monday, which resulted in the same. A lot of big fish were speared this year, over 100lb mark which is good to hear. The third largest sturgeon on Winnebago was speared coming in at 185lbs. Management of these fish is starting to pay off for everyone, it's by far the most closely managed animal specie known to wisconsin.

Today, a close friend of ours who had drawn for the Upriver system (Lakes Poygan, Winneconne, and Butte des Mortes) speared the upriver state record of 171lbs, 81 inches. He speared this on Butte des Mortes which has been producing good spearing results the past few years. The local sport shop in Winneconne where he registered it, has offered to mount the fish for him and display it in their Sports bar. So a good note for the end of the season.

All in all, weather played with us this year. Travel was very limited due to the great amount of snow on the ice, then mix in the thaw which stains the water from runoff into the holes and adversly affecting travel once again with poor ice spots. Water clarity was fair to good with pockets of excellent through out the lake, so that was an advantage. Most just couldn't get to key spots due to travel.

More memories made, another season awaits.

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