December 23, 2012.
I woke up to find the outside temperature to be 15 degrees F. It took me an extra 10 minutes to get ready because after all the layering, my neoprene wader was a bit tough to put on. After all that, I met up with Dan (Pondboy from DupageAngler.com) at a dam on the Fox River because all of the crappie lakes and ponds are frozen. The air was cold, but calm. That would prove to be the best part about today’s weather.
So the two of us went in the water shortly after 6:30AM and started to fish for walleyes. Dan was fishing with his standard drift rig baited with night crawlers. I was fishing a modified drift rig with a 1/8 oz jig with a Fuzz E Grub tip with a 2.5 inch Gulp! minnows. We had treated our rod guides prior to arriving with cooking spray to prevent ice building on them, I am not sure how it worked out for Dan, but it worked for the first 30 minute for me. After that, I was constantly dipping my rod in the water to melt the ice.
Dan was able to hook on to a couple of walleyes including a nice 15 inch while I was met with dumps and misses. After about 45 minutes in the water, my feet were getting uncomfortable. Not because they were getting cold, but because it was too tight due to excessive layering. Another 30 minutes passed, Dan headed to the shore to warm up. I decided to do the same and to also remove a layer of the socks I had on. But, with my toes going numb, I was having trouble trekking through the rocky part of the river. I must have slipped and stumbled around 8 or 9 times before I decided that it’s better to fall on my ass than on my face. So SPLASH I went. (here’s Dan’s account of what happened)
Since I went down on my ass, I was able to keep my sense of direction and got up quickly. With a little help from Dan, I got back on shore with minimal soakage. As I gather my self, I looked up and saw Dan laughing hard and got his camera going:
Here are also a few shots of my frozen jacket:
I must say though, that Beard Head combo I have has done a great job keeping me warm so far. It even blocked some water from getting in to the inside layers . It’s pretty awesome!
Good thing the air was calm today. If the wind was blowing, my finger would probably been frost bitten by the time I got to the car. Needless to say, I headed home without a catch today. However, it was still a great time and never a dull moment when you fish with a member of DuPageAngler.com; even when you’re skunked, wet, freezing, and your fishing partner is holding a camera and laughing his ass off. 😀
Now, here is some important information for everyone who wade the river. If you know that taking a fall is inevitable, don’t panic. Try to position your self to fall on your ass if possible. This way you are falling on to some cushion and can keep your head above and in a good position to get back up. Try to open your arm and lean back to land on your back side. This is to create as much surface area as possible so you’re won’t plunge in too fast.
Remember that if you are wading, the water must not be too deep so if you fall face first you can knock your self out and that is bad news. 90% of the time you will be able to sit up and push your self back up if you fall on your back side.The other 10% of the time you can be sure that if you sit up and then stand up, you should be heading toward the right direction.
Now, bring on the ICE!
P.S. Thanks Dan!