The Still Cold Open, a six tournament series event, that takes place on Big Lake, Alaska concluded Day 3 this Saturday. Big Lake is infamous for being a tough place to fish with a no bait, no artificial scents, and single hook restriction implemented by the state. Big Lake provides the ultimate test to anglers as one day you can feel like a skilled angler and the next day it will have you debating whether or not take up another hobby. One thing is for sure, the three days of the tournament, Big Lake has not only been tough but Mother Nature also decided to get involved. Day one we had white out, blizzard conditions, day two the lake received a lot of snow and created 12-18 inches of overflow. Overflow is water between the top of the ice and bottom of the snowpack. This water penetrates the surface of the ice through cracks or fissures while the ice is forming. You do not realize there is overflow until your truck or snowmachine bogs down and your standing in chin deep water trying to recover it. Day 3, Mother Nature decided to provide a high pressure system with -15 to a high of 3 degrees. 33 teams took to the ice chasing after Team Fish Reflections, the points leaders, and a top 3 finish to win an automatic entry into the March 12th Championship.
Day 3 winner was Double Action 2.0 (Jason Perrego and Joey Dombrowski) with 6 fish for a total of 118 inches made up of 5 char and 1 rainbow. The day started off extremely slow, marking very fish at what was "the honey hole". We decided to make a move an hour into the day. Ten minutes after the move, Joey gets an emergency call from work and has no choice but to leave the tournament and head in. At 9:30, down a partner and with no fish, Jason decided to move back to the original spot with hopes that the rainbows just had a late start. Leaving the area after 3 hours and only 1 small rainbow, he decided to test his luck and travel to an overflow area that has had little pressure in the previous weeks. With only one fish at 12:30, it felt like a necessity. Growing anxious, Jason spent little time in each hole. Finally, at 1:15 he caught his second fish and shortly after banged out another char. Not seeing fish on his sonar the next hour, he decided a move was necessary. After trying the first two starting holes with no fish he was at a lost. As he was heading down the lake aimlessly he was stopped at an ice road waiting for a car to pass and something just told him to stop, drill a hole, and check it out. Never having fished that area before, it was a gamble. The sonar returned 23.8 feet and his gut told him to stay put. With one hour left in the tournament in a new area with a newly purchased lure from Tackle Warehouse, he was able to bang out 3 char consecutively, with the biggest being a 25 inch beast that was the days big fish.
When your fishing gets tough, separate yourself from your emotional attachments (favorites spots, favorite lures) and just go fishing. Let your skills and your intuition take control and don't be stubborn to make a drastic change. However, with that said, never leave fish to find fish especially if your bite is consistent.
Fish Reflections (Jim McCormick and alternate Mike Weaver who was filling in for Josh Hughes who decided 80 degrees in Florida is better then -15 in Alaska) came in second place for the day. Posting the only other 6 fish limit with 115 inches anchored by a 23 inch char, Mike stepped in where Josh left off. Jim and Mike had a great day with a consistent bite throughout.
Finishing in third place for the day and earning an automatic championship qualification, Team Car Deets Catchers (Jim Beach and Daniel Sypult) managed to haul in 5 Big Lake fish for a total of 84 inches with their big fish coming in at 19 inches.
There were a total of 16 char over 20 inches measured for the day. 19 teams caught fish while 14 teams left empty handed after a long, cold day of Jack Frost nipping at their nose. The Top photo is of Dan Praslowicz from Drill Team Six, 2nd Photo is big fish of the day, bottom photo is Mark Kufel of team Reel Men with a nice 24" Arctic Char.
The results of Day 3 are posted below followed by the overall standings after three days of competition. There is a tie for the points championship going into day 4 on February 25th between Double Action 2.0 and Fish Reflections. Also, on a last note, if anyone from the tournament lost an item from your snowmachine or sled, I have it, give me a call.
Day 3 Results
Overall Results through Day 3 of 5