At last. The long awaited and much talked about book review is here.
Awhile back Nimrod came into possession of a book. Not any old book Ice Fishing: The Ultimate Guide by Tim Allard. The book was won during a birthday celebration at the Outdoor Blogger Network. To start off I want to give a special Thanks to the Outdoor Blogger Network for hosting the giveaway and to Fox Chapel Publishing for donating the book to be given away. Be sure to check them out
Doing a book review is a bit out of the norm for us here at the Nimrod Diaries. Sitting down to work on it Nimrod started getting flashbacks to times long ago forgotten. Times when book reports were common place and working to fool the teacher was the main game. After the cold sweats and nightmares subsided I realized this review would be different than those old book reports. This time I actually read the whole book and with that I actually enjoyed the book.
The first part of the book I checked out were the pictures. Being a novice (i.e. wannabe) photographer I noticed right away these are not your run of the mill ice fishing pictures. Mr Allard has assembled a wonderful collection of various fish species brought out of small holes by ice anglers. It would be a disservice to the photography if you skipped over it to get to the print. Lets be realistic who doesn’t like shiny all color photos of scaly beasts over black print on white paper?
After dreaming of fighting the scaly beasts in the pictures I decided I should put on the cheaters and get to it. The first part of the book went slow. Not because of the writing or the topic because every time I sat down to read something else came up. It was not until the Nimrod clan landed in the Great not so White North before I had time to sit, relax and jump in.
The most important part of ice fishing is not the perfect jig, the latest and greatest rod. Its not even knowing how to cook your catch. The most important part is safety on the ice. This includes reading the ice; making sure there is enough to hold you and gear; as well as dressing for the conditions. Mr. Allard covers all of this.
The book includes several chapters on gear used for ice fishing. Rods, reels, tip ups, line, lures/tackle, live bait, tools and “other” are covered. I will include the chapter on “Ice Breakers” ( I love that term and will be sure to use it on the lake) with gear. Ice Breakers covers ways to create a hole in the froze water to get at the scaly critters. A section on ice saws would have been a nice addition. Granted they are almost solely used for cutting larger holes for spearing but a few paragraphs on them would inform the reader of another option.
The chapters on electronics and shelters were eye openers for Nimrod. We were raised going out on the ice, sitting on a bucket and moving if no fish were biting. Turns out they make things now days that keep you out of the wind and also can show you what is below the ice before you drop your line. You could even add a small heater to keep from freezing body parts off. Man the sky is the limit when you use your head and think of ways to make life better.
The venison and potatoes of the book were the species specific chapters of the book. Mr. Allard does a wonderful job explaining the species, how to find them and have I mentioned the pictures? There is a chapter on each walleye, perch, crappie, sunfish (Nimrods favorite), pike, trout (rainbow, brook and brown), lake trout, whitefish, eel pout and bass (the last three are one chapter).
Each species specific chapter is broken down into 4 segments:
Species Summary gives you an overview of the species. Do the school? Actively feed day or night? What depth are they general found in? Plus more. Won’t go as far as saying everything you need to know on each species is listed but you won’t find much left out.
Finding (insert species) Under the ice gives tips and advice on where to start looking for the fish. Structure ques, depth ranges, movements as season moves on.
The last segments are Jigging Tactics and Setline Tactics (dead sticking or tip-ups) for each species. If the species chapters are the venison and taters, these sections are the tenderloin of the book. The best of the best. Mr. Allard describes techniques to entice fish to strike. Many are applicable for all species. Without these methods Nimrod would be a more informed ice fisherman but with no (new) knowledge on how to effectively catch fish.
Mother Nature has been abusing those in southern Michigan. Winter has been warm. Too warm. Not until the last few days, maybe week, has there been safe ice to get out fishing. Mid January???? Come on Momma Nature. That was cruel. You will be hearing from me soon. These conditions made it hard, no it has made it impossible to get on the water and try out Mr. Allards techniques. Luckily this has changed.
Life at the Nimrod Ranch has been busy. Work, family, school, Scouts, etc, etc. So when word started to spread that the ice was safe to get out fishing it took Nimrod a few days to get out. There were too many “lines in water” I needed to take care of before heading out. Nonetheless it happened.
First ice trip of the year was a welcome relief. Adding Mr. Allard’s teaching to my tackle box worked. Here is a picture of the biggest bluegill of the night.
He hit while I was using one of the jigging methods from the book. Not a monster but respectably beautiful fish. The tale of the tape was 8 ¾ inches long with a sweet bright orange breast. I tried to squish out a full 9 inches but it just wasn’t happening.
Would I have caught this and the other ‘gills without using the methods from this book? No one will ever know. What I do know is I did and I plan on doing so again and again and again.
To be honest as I started to read the book I was taken back by the name dropping. It was like reading the script of a NASCAR driver who just won a race. I have to thank Chevy, Coke, Go Daddy, DuPont, Home Depot, Menards, Sally Mae, Freddy Mac, blah, blah, blah for winning the race. One day I made a comment to Yoop about this and she promptly put me in my place.
Turns out Mr. Allard wasn’t dropping names for his own benefit. He is giving us a starting point for finding products to keep us safe, warm, dry, on the fish, etc. After Yoop slapped me with the Obvious stick I liked Mr Allard even more. Whether your looking for electronics, safety items, cold weather gear, lures/jigs, rods, etc Mr. Allard has provided a great starting list for your search.
The title, Ice Fishing: The Ultimate Guide, says it all. This is THE guide for the beginner or experience ice fisherman. Never been a professional or expert so I would only be guessing on its usefulness to those anglers. Just remember you can learn something from everyone.
This books gets the Nimrod seal of approval. If you didn’t win one be sure to buy one. I have no doubt it will make you a better ice angler.
Next step? Nimrod was invited to ice fish northern Michigan for perch and walleye. Stay tuned to see how it turns out. Be sure to “like” the Nimrod Diaries Facebook page for quick updates.