Photographed:  Jimmy Kennedy, photo by Garrick Dixon

 Photographed:  Jimmy Kennedy, photo by Garrick Dixon

Sometimes you can try to do what you need to do and it all goes completely wrong.  And sometimes you just get real, real lucky!

That was the case last week when I took a trip to Lake Champlain to film an exciting project for Wild Outdoor Media involving Jimmy Kennedy and a bunch of other Lake Champlain Hammers!  The plan was simple:  meet up at 1:40pm in North Hero, Vermont and go catch them.  The only problem was the recent storm that arrived a day early, making my 2 hours drive from Manchester a 4 hour drive.  We had 40mph winds, temperatures were in the single digits and the windchill was anywhere from -10 to -40 degrees F.  Not ideal conditions to be outside at all, let alone to be ice fishing.  I don't have a lot of experience on the ice, so I was really unsure how the fish were going to cooperate.  Also making this trip problematic was that our time we had was being cut short by the uncertainty of how much our travel home would be impacted.  So our window was shrinking by the minute.

 Photographed:  Jimmy Kennedy, photo by Garrick Dixon

 

What I learned was that the fish seemed to be energized by the storm, despite the incredibly cold temperatures.  From the minute we dropped our Strike King jigs in the hole it seemed like the fish were chewing!  In less than 20 minutes we had (as a group) close to 20 keeper Crappies and a bunch of perch and bluegills.  It was literally every drop of the jig, a fish was on the line.  And the fishing was so good we didn't even really need our fishfinders.  We let the jigs hit the bottom, then reel them up a foot, and that was it.  Our best color was orange, and we were having our most luck in about 12 feet.

I also learned what happens when you fly a drone in conditions like this.  I have to tell you I have been very critical of the GoPro Karma Drone because of the problems that I have had with it in the past, but it seems like the recent update has solved a lot of the issues I experienced over the summer and I was really impressed with how the Karma performed in the storm.  With such horrible temperatures and high winds I was expecting the worst.  But the drone held it's position on it's own at 100 feet above us, and I was able to easy record a fly over that I wanted for our video before powering it down.  It was a short flight at under 5 minutes, but in that time I got all the footage I needed and returned it to the 1510 Pelican case I carry it in.  I also made sure to have a couple disposable handwarmers inside to keep the batteries from being exposed to real cold temperatures, which I know helped and I highly recommend doing this anytime you have camera gear out in the cold.  I usually use one warmer for each bag or compartment.

 Photographed:  Jim Root, photo by Garrick Dixon