The fifth annual Tip-Up Pike Jam
An Outdoorsman’s Journal
Hello friends, Some of you may remember when I wrote back in January about going on an ice fishing/camping trip with my 22-year-old daughter Selina Walters and she became very ill and had to go home. Selina came up with an idea and this past weekend we had about as much fun as a father/daughter and a dozen friends and family could have on the ice.
We participated in the fifth annual Tip Up Pike Jam, which is held on the backwaters of the Wisconsin River at Stevens Point on the grounds of The Waters Pub and Pier. It is run by Alex Dalnodar. Alex is a full-time musician with the band Dig Deep and loves tip-up fishing and does not like electronics, kind of like yours truly. The first 99 people in line were able to get into the tournament and from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. there were seven really good bands that played in a tent for a very cool crowd.
Friday, Feb. 16 High 33, Low 21
I had an ATV in a trailer behind my truck. In trucks behind me were Doug Cibukla, high school buddy, and Ross Moll, high school buddy’s offspring, now a buddy. Everyone was worried about breaking through the ice. I took this seriously and decided we should use Doug’s truck, go 200-yards, drill a hole and keep exploring. We had 18 inches of good ice, found 4.5 feet of water, built a large camp and set out tip-ups. Selina arrived and, jeepers creepers, did we have fun until the wee hours of the night.
Let me describe our neighbors. They were mostly in pre ‘70s campers and rebuilt pop-up campers as well as many UW-SP students enjoying the ice. Super cool people that had a great attitude, and no one cared what individual won the contest for big gator.
One of the kids I had a good time with both days was UW-SP freshman Brock Kendall Berndt, who hopes to be a game warden someday. Brock was with two of his friends and these kids were very polite. After witnessing the area we were having some activity today would be on that side of us for the tournament.
Saturday, Feb. 17 High 39, Low 27
Shortly after daylight my stepson Travis Dushek shows up with his fiancée Ann Shaben and her 5-yearold son Jett. Ross Moll’s son Jordan is 7 and these kids, who had never met would play for the next 10 hours on the ice without taking a single break. The area of this tournament is maybe a 300-acre backwater that is on the north end of Stevens Point. In all honesty, I think God has done it a big favor and kept all the people with poor attitudes from finding it because what we did today was tend our lines, sit in lawn chairs and watch the world.
Throughout the day we would visit with our neighbors or they would visit with us. Early in the tournament that ran from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Brock Bernt had a flag, and he landed a 32-inch gator which was a personal best for him. I honestly was hoping a college kid, or a real young kid would get the big fish as they are the ones that need the money (32 inches won last year).
At 11 a.m., the bands started and for me it was very tempting to watch them but our gang was onto the fish even though it was slow bite. The competitor in me said stay.
About 10 of Selina’s friends from UW-SP joined our party and told us there was a lot of fun to be had in the tent and that every one of the bands was excellent. At 5 p.m., the fishing part of this experience ended, Brock won and we headed in to listen to some music. While we were pulling tip-ups, one of Doug’s went up and he caught a 31.5-incher.
We went over to the party where there was a campfire, snow sculptures, the best band that I have ever listened to, and what I can honestly say was the coolest crowd of people I have ever witnessed. Selina came up with a great back-up idea and a happy ending was enjoyed by one and all! Sunset