KENNY BAYLESS: Keeping fish on ice no problem for these six fishermen

Photo: tribstar


As the captain of the ice fishing team, Jay Rogers started explaining his expertise to me.

He acted like he spit something into his hand saying, “You have to keep your bait warm, and if you don’t like the taste of the bait, the fish don’t either.”

Six hard-core rednecks make up the fishing party of Jay Rogers, Josh Moore, Brent Van Hook, Damon Fortune, Danny Wolfe and Rick VanHook. They gathered at Wolfe’s 2.5-acre lake to drown some fishing worms.

At the first of January, with record low temperatures, there’s eight inches of ice to hold their carcasses up out of the water — although if they jumped up and down, the water would squirt up through the holes to look like the fountain in front of Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.

Jay says when you hear the ice cracking, you can’t outrun it.

Using hand augers that you manually operate, it took quite a while to drill 34 holes. They fished from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and only caught a cold.

Actually, they caught 148 bluegill and two bass with 10 poles in the water. During the bite, they lost two poles from fish pulling them in through the hole. One was Danny’s top-of- the-line new pole.

The bite would happen in spurts as if the fish were in schools and on the move instead of being suspended at a certain level and dormant or staying in one place.

It was an ideal day at 30 degrees and they purchased their B moths at the Seelymart on Highway 40, next to Kleptz Restaurant. The favorite lure was spinner bait with chartreuse, white or orange color. A two-pound test line was sufficient.

Josh said if the fish were biting, Jay would come running to pull the fish out. But for some reason, he couldn’t drill any holes or clean any fish. Jay says, all Indians need a chief, so he kept them in line.

They started drooling while explaining a recipe of Andy’s Cajun and original fish batter mixed 50/50 to cook the fillets in.

Josh Moore said that anyone who knows Jay hears about him catching the biggest and most fish. Well, it’s his story, so let him tell it the way he wants to.

Brent VanHook says if you’ve never been ice fishing, get out of the house and cure your cabin fever. It’s a blast.

Matt Jensen, with the Normark Corporation from Minnetonka, Minn., sent me new styles of lures and fishing line. They come highly recommended to the avid ice fisherman.

The line is called Sufix Ice Magic. It’s designed to deal with cold water by having special additives to decrease water absorption and ice buildup. So, when the mercury goes down, your ice fishing performance will go up.

A blue-colored jigging rapala is a hot item. It’s designed as a winter lure, and has proven itself as a year-round vertical jigging lure, by swimming in tantalizing circles.

The 1/32 ounce Tungsten Probe jig is another hot item. The ultra glow will attract all fish with its movement and clear color.

For more info on top-of-the-line ice fishing equipment, contact Matt Jensen at Normark Corporation, 10395 Yellow Circle Drive, Minnetonka, MN 55343.

Kenny Bayless writes an outdoors column for the Tribune-Star. He can be reached at

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