Was going through some old video shoots and came across one done late in January 1982.
It showed two much younger, hard charging anglers dressed in Artic parkas, gloves, and boots, exhaling huge plumes of steam in the freezing air as they prepared to launch at the frozen ramp.
Conowingo Dam in Maryland is an interesting fishery and this frozen morning the dead still surface was covered in skim ice as they left the dock in their ancient 13-foot Boston Whaler ice breaker, wondering if they could reach their destination eight miles up-lake.
Capt. George Tunison
After an uneventful but brutally cold ride they settled in and fished as best they could, every few minutes clearing ice from the guides so they could cast their smallmouth jigs. After an hour a strong breeze started, after three it tripled, as they cashed in and pulled anchor.
On the way home the thought of drowning or life jackets never really entered their minds as they were all smiles over their two fish catch and release, a near frozen little smallie and a similar sad largemouth.
The 13-foot boat half sheeted in ice, two brave (stupid) parka-clad extreme anglers fighting three-foot waves and frozen spray, over 80 feet of water, frozen stiff in the little Boston with me trying to get footage, it seemed to me as bad as any scene from Deadliest Catch. Well, almost.
But, for those that duck, deer, and goose hunted as well as fished while growing up in the Northeast, it was deal with it, or sit in the kitchen till spring. We were young and invincible.
Last week I called my old partner, that old tough-as-nails hard rock and said, "I'm off today, let's get out for a few hours." There was a pause then a weak, "Well, it's only 74 today and its blowin." I replied, "It's a sunny 74 degrees here with a 10 MPH breeze, the rest of the country is frozen solid, we've got three boats between us, more tackle than Wal-Mart, and live in one of the top fishing destinations in the USA, let's go!"
All he said was "brrrrr" before hanging up. Unbelievable.
If you did get that stocking full of cash and are dying to finally treat yourself to your first, really nice rod, head over to Del Prado Boulevard to Capt. Rob's and take a look at his Crowder Rods. Everyone has their favorite brands of course, but I've found Crowder's to be an outstanding value. Mine are used at least five days a week year-round and hold up incredibly well. He can't stock them all but can quickly order any not on display. I recently cracked a rod that was covered under the terms of their lifetime warranty and was replaced right away.
Friendly, knowledgeable, a well-stocked store, repairs, bait, and guide service without leaving the Cape.
Cold wind fronts Friday will push some fish off the flats into channels, holes, creeks and canals. Unless it gets really cold, redfish won't care and will feed. Sheepshead action is going on near a dock or bridge near you and will only get better as it gets colder.
If you have a 10-year-old that's only caught a bluegill or two pick a day and go buy a half dozen crabs. Anchor up to the Cape Bridge and fish half a crab straight down on the bottom next to a piling. Have a camera ready and wait. If things go according to plan a 45-pound drum will lift the youngster off their seat and pull them toward the water while screaming, "I GOT ONE!" This is the money shot and an outdoor memory that will last a lifetime.
They gather at the base of most structures this time of year and a half crab is the go-to bait. They do get big and are kid friendly.