The annual guys fishing weekend was last weekend and this message from one of the guys hits the nal on the head on why we've done this for some many years. Photos from the weekend are below the message.
From Bruce Smith…
I finally got to spend a glorious weekend with a jig pole in my hand, eyes glued on the spring bobber tip, waiting for the slightest twitch indicating that a wily bluegill (Lepomis macrochirus) had just sucked in my waxie hanging on my tiny jig. Now don't get me wrong, I love jigging for whitefish in the deep waters of Green Bay, but I was raised on ice fishing that was defined by guys sitting on buckets and putting a mess of 'gills on the ice. This weekend brought that all back.
The event was the Annual Guys Fishing Weekend on Schoenrock Lake in Shawano County, this event has been going on for many decades. My first exposure to this classic "male-bonding" experience was back in 1978 when became part of the faculty at Appleton West High School. At that time I was a naive punk kid who thought he knew something about fishing. I was taken under the tutelage of the likes of Willie Simpson, (aka Walleye Willie), Dickie Simpson, Greg Stanford and several other more "experienced" members of the West Men's faculty. They set about to give me an education and they indeed did so.
Over the years, the annual gathering at Bill Reay's cabin (now transformed into Dick & Ruth Simpson's beautiful home) became a much anticipated highlight of each winter. Not only did it involved the usual male chicanery, smart talk, and consumption of copious amounts of alcohol we also, by the way, caught some fish,
This year was no different. I had not attended this outing since 2009, but as soon as I pulled up to the lake, it was like I had been there just yesterday. I forgot how fun bluegill fishing is. After the past seasons of having big salmon and trout viciously attack my baits and seeing smallies move many feet to explode on my Rapalas, it was exciting to have to coax a recalcitrant 'gill to move that one or two inches to approach and take my bait. I was reminded that patience and persistence are intend virtues when fishing, particularly on the ice of a northern Wisconsin lake.
I ended up with about 30 'gills, all too small to keep, although we kept some anyway. I also caught 3 crappies and a couple of perch. Most guys did about the same. I have to admit that many were tempted to violate the "Bigger then Willies D--K" rule in order to keep a few of the perch. You can see the "size" of the fish we were catching in the attached photos. That ISIS radical terrorist looking guy with me is good old Eddie. S.
A key event each year is a drive to Pella for a classic Wisconsin fish fry at Hurricane Dawns (formerly Wanda's Damn Bar). It was great as usual, at least as much as I remember. Thanks to Randy Simpson for inviting me to the outing and organizing the event. Thanks to Dickie & Ruth Simpson for the gracious use of their home. Thanks to Eddie for providing me with a sleeping bag and the "hot" jig I caught almost all my fish with.
I look forward to returning next year to continue this wonderful tradition.
Tight lines, Bruce
Here's a Link to a Photo Album
And here's the slideshow: