so my whole family (except for my stepson harry) has been violently sick with some godforsaken stomach bug all week and im very late posting this trip but better late then never i guess. so the leicester little league derby on sargent pond this past saturday was hmmmm where do i start?? well i went for bait the day before and stcuk them in my basement attached to the air pump from my fish tank to make sure my shiners were nice and lively for the derby, well i decided after 10 hours of oxygen pumping into a tiny bait bucket they must be going mad from all the commotion and decided to give them a break overnight. 5 am and both my alarm clocks are blazing next to my head and im still out like a light, in typical fashion my old lady smacks me on the back of the head and says jon its 5 turn those f***in alarms off before that baby wakes up! yes maam! im awake! i go to the other room to wake my stepson harry who ive taken fishing alot with me over the summer to wachusett for smallies and late night at my spot at indian lake for horn pouts and midnight bucket heads but never ice fishing, hell the only reason i think he agreed to go on the ice all day was cause i told him hed have his own 5 tip ups and if he was lucky enough to catch a prize winning fish that he could keep the money (what 12 year old kid dosent jump at the thought of free money) so anyways he gets outta bed like the walking dead and we both start to scramble to get outta the house, i go to the basement for my bait and had my first "doh! " moment of the day half of them are dead and mostly the bigger ones, goddamnit i guess i should have left the aerator on overnight afterall... oh well no time to cry lets get moving. 5:15 am and were on the road, stop at dunkies for breakfast and get to the pond by 5:30,unload gear ,explain some safety rules as well as ice fishing eticut to harry and then its on to the ice to start drilling. now sargent pond is relatively hard to find any solid fishing info for online and after days of searching for depth info or anything that i could use to base my pick for a spot off of i resorted to staring at a satelite picture from google earth to try and spot any shallow points under the water from space lol. we get on the ice and the primary area i wanted to fish was already taken and although the derby had yet another 45 minutes til start these guys already had a couple baits in the water and were getting flags (rather disheartening seeing as how had we skipped dunkins that spot would have been mine) so we kept walking and i decided to go to my secondary choice which was right around the corner . we stop and set up camp , i start drilling my first hole with a hand auger and after i finally got threw what ended up being atleast a foot of ice i was kicking myself in the ass for leaving the gas auger at home, it was such a mild winter i figured id travel light cause we'd only have maybe 3 or 4 inches... nope! big mistake! so i give harry my jig rod and told him start jigging that first hole and see if we are on a good spot while i go drill the rest of the 9 holes we would need just to get started for the day :( 5 minutes later hes got a little sunfish hooked amazingly in the gill cover on a treble that couldnt have possibly fit in his mouth so i said cool that means we are on top of a bass buffett now keep jiggin! i got all my holes drilled and baited my tip ups then asked harry where exactly he wanted his holes and we got him all set up also. by this point it was about quarter past 7 and i quickly ran back to the parking lot to register us so i could get back to my traps and try n win some money ;) at around 7:30 i got my first flag out of the same hole that the sunfish was jigged out of but he ended up being a tiny little guy weighing in at .90 on my scale so i just got a picture of my first bass since october (i know its pitiful) and threw him back. some time passed and i see one of harrys flags up in the far distance, " harry! flag! " we start duck walking to get to the flag (anyone that ice fishes knows about the duck walk lol) we get there and i start coaching him in real time " ok your spool is spinning, now gently pull your trap outta the hole,grab onto the line lightly. you feel a fish on the other end? yeah? ok now gently tighten up with your fingers, now set the hook! start pullin and dont stop boy keep the fight on!" all i see is what looks like a gargantuan bucket mouth wide open, violently head shaking from side to side and i start to scream and swear and generally just overreact (like any good dad would do lol) i grabbed the beast by the lip and yanked him outta the hole and handed him to harry and we both flipped out and made fools of ourselves because by this point what felt like the whole damn pond had dropped what they were doing to see this giant fish beast that we were going so ape s*** over(anyone that was there i am sure will confirm how loudly we ,well mostly me , were screaming) and my boy had a huge smile on his face. i pulled my digital scale and weighed him at 2.90 and although very happy for harry that he had not only just basically successfully pulled his first tip up fish from start to finish but it was actually a nice fish too but it was not the 4 to 5 pound mammoth i had originally thought because although the fish had a nice length she was rather skinny so whatever its cool we got one on the board. i put the fish i my live well cooler and told harry to go up to the lot and have his fish weighed to see where he was at, he comes back and says that hes on top of the bass category by half a pound and i was very happy for him so we did the "harry cought a nice fish ritual" followed by the secret "harry cought a nice fish handshake" then i told him that if he won money with that fish id be taxing him for bait, breakfast,gas money,and a finders fee for putting him in the zone and he wasnt amused ;) the next 4 and a half hours were agonizing and painful not only because we got 2 flags each with about a hundred feet of line taken but no fish on the other end but also because he was in the lead and every time i saw someone running for a flag my heart dropped and i started sweating! as much as i wished all around me good luck and i meant it i was excited for my kid to be on top of the board and wanted him to go home with money so as i see all these flags i literally got heartburn and anxiety attacks just waiting for him to get bumped outta top position. at one opint i hear a large group of people behind us oohing and ahhing and wow what a fish-ing at this one guy so i told harry to man the post while i go see what we were up against. i get there only to feel sick when i see a huge monster bucket mouth that had to be 20 something inches long and was weighed on my scale as well as another guys scale at 5.88, my heart sank as i told the guy congratulations my kid was top in the bass spot but i guess your fish blows his away but the reply i got outta this guy was not anything what i was expecting " dont worry about it, im not even in the derby" wait... your not in the derby? "nope i didnt even know there was a derby today i just came to fish and get drunk with friends so if your kids in the lead then he still is " as he got a picture with his beautiful fish and threw it back into the depths. i ran back to harry like a prancing school girl on coke and with my rapid heart beat could barely spit the words out " he... was.. not ... in... the ... derby.." the smile instantly came back on harrys face and we were back in the money baby! so anyways to get this story on the road at about 1:40ish a guy asks me how he gets his fish weighed, does he bring it to the lot or will someone come to him , so i says well we just took ours up there in the cooler but i think the pretty chick on the quad is the one going around weighing fish why what you got? he says arrogantly "ehh 3 and ahalf ,4 pounds? " again anxiety kicks in mixes with anger knowing that we had 15 minutes left and after well over 4 hours of holding the top spot that harry may possibly now get blown away by this guys fish. so anyways he walks all the way up and gets the lady to come weigh his fish as i start to pack up our gear so we can get to the country club to get results all the while harry and i were stressing about the potential bending over we just took. the country club is a whole nother beast in the fact that after a day of feeling like a ufc champion fighter just waiting for the next up in comer to rise threw ranks and destroy us we then waited yet another 3+ hours in a small room with annoying little kids running face first into walls and talking all kinds of s*** to the event organizers who all in all i believe had done a great job keeping this whole thing from falling into chaos. the board finally goes up and the results shown as first place bass 2.75lbs some guy (sorry cant remember his name) second place bass harry hendriguez (supposed to be henriquez but he dosent speak decisivley enough to judges lol) 2.5 lbs . harry gets his name called and he walks up to collect his envelope full of cash as the room cheered and the smile on his face almost made up for the near hundred dollars i paid for us to go fish that day (lmao hahahaha) honorable mention chris b (muskiesbrother) had un beknowns to him won second prize pickerel and got himself a nice envelope full of pirates booty to take home (woop woop) so all in all it was a great day, nice weather and fun was had by all. harry went home and walked threw the door to a big "congratulations!" from his mom and a phone call with bragging rights to his grampa ( an oldschool fisherman full of fishtales now being told a true fishtale by his grandson with a fist ful of cash and cellphone pics to prove it!) the only sad thing about the day was not hearing the loud obnoxious voice of my good bald friend paul b (muskiebigfish) who had sadly gone out for drinks the night before and fell on an ice patch on the sidewalk and broke his ankle instantly ending his ice season, pauly you were there in spirit but you were missed brother, bein on the ice without you just aint the same.
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