It was a bright but blistering-cold day on Silver Lake ice last weekend, but young and older anglers fared well during fishing contests both days.
The 2014 Northeast Ice Fishing Circuit connected at Mack’s Restaurant Jan. 18 and 19 for a Youth Derby on Saturday and a qualifying Adult Derby on Sunday.
Both days saw some sunshine with biting southwest winds, but the fish bite was all right and most entrants brought in fish. Not everyone took a limit or a qualifying number of panfish (five), but many an entrant weighed in some weighty combinations of bluegills, sunfish/pumpkinseeds, crappies and perch each day – mostly bluegills.
The Youth Derby drew 18 entrants of many ages and all sizes. From the first-place winner at age 15 to the third place entrant just 7 years of age, kids caught some impressive panfish from 10 a.m. to noon that day.
Kids and adult tackle tenders, mainly dads and moms, came off the ice with buckets of ’gills most grownup ice anglers would like to be carrying.
Mose Yoder, 15, of Woodhull, weighed in five ’gills that reached the 2.1-pound mark. Dad, Dan Yoder, said that the family mainly makes the run from Woodhull to fish for northern pike. The northern bite has been slight so far on Silver Lake ice, but Mose took pride in heading home with his plaque and fishing gear.
Enos Shetler, 11, of Fillmore finished a thin fin behind Yoder with a 2.02-pound total for his five fish.
Aliyah Snyder, 7, of Warsaw was all smiles when she walked off the ice with her younger brother at noon, but she became a bit camera shy when the awards and recognition plaques were announced and presented. Aliyah finished with a 1.97-pound total to take third place.
Some kids finished with only a fish or two. Brothers Frank Malone, 15, and Massimo Malone, 8, held up one 9-inch ‘gill that could easily serve as photo art for a panfish-tech piece.
Even shutouts did not dim spirits that day. Brent Maines of Silver Springs and sons Nicholas, 12, Caleb, 9, and Matthew, 7, stood around and admired winning entrants and their catches. The Maines family fished steadily through the contest hours without a catch.
Nonetheless, dad said they left their portable shelter on the ice and headed out after the awards presentations to fish the remainder of that afternoon.
All 18 of the boys and girls who entered the derby received at least one fishing tackle item as an entry bonus.
Many received a top-quality HT ice-fishing rod-and-reel rig that had been set up for immediate use. Some were.
Nathan Krusko, contest competitor and product rep, demonstrated the Striker Ice Float Suit after kids received their awards. Krusko walked onto a prepared sheet of thin ice over a 20-foot depth off Mack’s Restaurant and showed how to safely and effectively get back onto solid ice. Not easy. The suit provided buoyancy and mobility to break through thin ice and get onto a firm surface without help from rope-tending rescuers or ice spike.
The Sunday Series Event allowed for a 12-fish entry total; a few fair-sized crappies were thrown in to tip the scales.
First-place honors went to the team of Andy Bush and Kevin Snyder; their 5.77-pound total (8 crappies and 4 bluegills) garnered Striker Ice Float Suits for each and a cash prize.
Two teams tied for second place with a total of 5.23 pounds. Second-place standing went to the team with the largest single fish entered in the competition.
As a result, second place went to Rick Ryan and Zack Osbourn. Each received a Sportsmen’s Direct Ice hopper rod and reel and a cash prize.
Ron Skelly and Mark Dusablon took third place, each winning Striker Ice Mittens and a cash prize.
Big Fish honors went to Rick Ryan and Zack Osbourn for their .61-pound crappie entry.
Jeff Snyder, circuit director, thanked major sponsors Striker Ice, HT Enterprise, Sportsmen Direct, Hydro Glow, Korkers Boots, Lake Fork Lures, Recycle Fish, and Micro Spoons.
Snyder announced area-based circuit competitions for this ice season.
A repeat Youth-Adult weekend competition will be held on Oneida Lake Feb. 8 and 9 at Big Bay Marina in Central Square; a Feb. 16 contest will go out of Trident Marina on Honeoye Lake; Conesus Lake will be the site for a Feb. 23 contest.
For complete details on upcoming competitions, qualifying terms, national tourneys and more circuit details check with Snyder at (585) 322-0063 or go to northeasticefishingcircuit.com.