The Herald Bulletin

March 12, 2014

Rick Bramwell: Time to prepare fishing hole for spring


The Herald Bulletin

---- — Friday was my last day to ice fish, but something besides catching fish was on my plate. The ice would soon be gone, and it was time to plan for the future.

My first two holes produced right away, but then I know where to fish on this lake. I was fishing with good friend Todd Staley and cousin Jay Bramwell. They were catching fish, too.

When the pit owner showed up, I asked for some twine and a cement block. He had both. I quit fishing and began gathering bushy tree limbs that had blown down during the winter. Once I had my brush pile organized, I tied it all together and then to the cement block.

It was tough to build a crappie hotel while my friends were catching fish, but this was a project I had put off all winter.

Like most pits, this one has shoreline weeds and logs but little structure in deep water. The crappie always seem to be scattered and difficult to locate. Now they have a home. Their new hotel is in about 16 feet of water along a ledge. The highest branches will be at 10 feet — a perfect situation for crappie and big bass.

This brush will be a medium cast from shoreline, and many a guest will curse my name when they get hung up. Unfortunately, I probably will not get the credit when they leave with a bag full of fish.

Late afternoon Monday, the pit owner witnessed the brush pile slowly descend through the ice. First the block broke through, and then gradually the hole got larger and could hold the wood no longer. It took about two hours.

Crappie like to roam, and when they find this place they will set up house cleaning. As algae forms on the branches, it will attract minnows. The prey will draw the predators.

Saturday I took my daughter Jourdan to shoot her new pistol at Wilbur Wright Fish & Wildlife Area. Her gun is a Smith & Wesson 380 Bodyguard. I shot a military style and a bolt action .223.

Amongst all the gunfire, I heard a familiar call. I yelled at all the shooters. After getting their attention, I pointed up to a flock of sandhill cranes flying over. Few knew what they were.

The minute the weather breaks, sandhills will be seen heading north. At first, you will think they are geese, but they fly in a wide V and make a much different sound. On cloudy days, you may hear the sandhills and not see them. Usually, they fly rather high.

Tuesday morning redwing blackbirds arrived in Madison County and quickly found my offering of sunflower seeds.

I looked out my kitchen window to notice my partially full bag of bird seed had tipped over. Inside the bag was the neighbor's cat. What an innovative ambush .

Some 18 Lapel High School students have organized a "Varsity" Ducks Unlimited Chapter and will host their first banquet at the school March 22. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. These young folks are the future of conservation and hunting. Let us help make their first endeavor a success.

Contact Logan at 810-7301 or Stacy at 610-5444. Get information at www.ducks.org/indiana.