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No I was first person there. I have fished in past years by myself but i will need to rethink that going forward.

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As I get up in years I begin to wonder if I would have the arm strength in the cold water to pull myself out with the wet clothing, boots and all. So I tend to pass on the “early season” until I’m seeing 5” of good ice. Problem is any more the winter’s pretty much over by the time that’s available here in the Berrien / Cass county area. Meanwhile, I see all those good catches posted on here and just get more frustrated. May have to expand my horizons out of this snow belt.
 

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At 59, I still fish by myself a lot. I normally bring an auger to drill holes( because I hate banging hole while fishing ). But I bring a thin light spud to check the ice, with ever step if necessary.
And at 59, I feel I have the experience,knowledge or maybe just I’m part chicken sheet to back off if the spud tells me to stop


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Todays warm up might melt some of the snow into the top then really freeze up nice by sat i hope.
My spud hasn't left my hand yet as im walking on new ice for me.
The area i was in had good hard 4".however we talked to a few guys who walked a different part of same lake and found 1.5" and said it was open days before.
As the day went on more and more people walked out with no spud and never checked the ice once just strolled on out because others were out...
I always wonder if these morons think im a moron when i walk out on a lake new to me spudding my way out.
Last yr very similar to this yr so far spud is always close.
 

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My yooper grandfather had a rule about people that didn't use a spud. He said if they don't have mud on their face, then don't bother getting the rope wet.
 

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I'm in the same boat. 57 yrs old, fish 95% of the time alone. Love Van Buren and Allegan county lakes but the lake effect and rising temps overall have made these counties pretty dicey the last 15 years. Turned my attention to Barry Co. and going north to find safer ice. But ice fishing is my passion so I plug on.
 

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At 59, I still fish by myself a lot. I normally bring an auger to drill holes( because I hate banging hole while fishing ). But I bring a thin light spud to check the ice, with ever step if necessary.
And at 59, I feel I have the experience,knowledge or maybe just I’m part chicken sheet to back off if the spud tells me to stop


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My spud weighs 11.5 lbs. I'm 67 and that thing is getting heavier every year. I still climb trees to bow hunt, but this stuff is getting just a little harder each year and I don't want to give any of this up now that I have more time to do it. Where can I find a lighter spud that will still get the job done?
 

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Since age was mentioned. I am 54 and would like to think I am in relativity decent shape. I work out nearly every day, both cardio and strength training.

I'm not big by any means at 5'7" and 185#. But I do think being in somewhat decent shape and having good upper body strength made a difference for me.

That said I need to break out my spud for future trips, once I get settled down. While it's one more thing to bring it has great value and purpose.

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My spud weighs 11.5 lbs. I'm 67 and that thing is getting heavier every year. I still climb trees to bow hunt, but this stuff is getting just a little harder each year and I don't want to give any of this up now that I have more time to do it. Where can I find a lighter spud that will still get the job done?
11 lbs, that is heavy. The spud I have used to be my dad's. I know its over 60 yrs old.
It's just something he made yrs ago. Id say it's 3/8" thick, 1 3/4" wide and 8" long. welded onto a 5ft piece of 3/4" pipe. Then a small T welded on the other end, 90 degrees from the blade.
I would guess someone with a welder and and grinder could whip one up.
 

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Last year had one our maintenance guys weld one up for me. On top of that I went and bought some ice picks that stay around my neck now every time I go out. Last couple of years have sucked for ice so gotta adapt and be smarter about it. Glad you were able to get out and get back to your significant who probably needs you now more than ever. Prayers to you and yours while you get through these tough times.


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Todays warm up might melt some of the snow into the top then really freeze up nice by sat i hope.
My spud hasn't left my hand yet as im walking on new ice for me.
The area i was in had good hard 4".however we talked to a few guys who walked a different part of same lake and found 1.5" and said it was open days before.
As the day went on more and more people walked out with no spud and never checked the ice once just strolled on out because others were out...
I always wonder if these morons think im a moron when i walk out on a lake new to me spudding my way out.
Last yr very similar to this yr so far spud is always close.
I'd rather be a moron with a spud than a moron in the water...
 

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Ice picks around my neck always. Trying to pull yourself out without them would be really, really tough. If my spud goes through in two whacks I'm turning around. I'm starting to learn what it looks and feels like in the spud on varying types of ice. You can tell once you've done it enough.

Be safe guys...
 

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You got it BFG. Takes time. The sound of the strike can tell ya a bunch also. If it sounds hollow or like cardboard ya got a couple layers and need to look at it. I’ve chucked four spuds to the bottom of the lake over the years so I usually cut the t off and weld a 6” t on. Fits in your hand better. Won’t go down the hole if you loose your grip. Stands up on its side so ya won’t loose it if there’s snow.
 

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When you're moving onto new ice and spudding as you go, do you guys use one hand or both? Last winter I was lazy or impatient and would just use one hand, keeping the other on the rope to pull my sled. After a couple weeks of that my elbow started to hurt and that lasted for months. Almost back to normal now, but I'm not going to go one handed anymore. I think it's because my joints aren't what they were back when I was young.
 

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Discussion Starter #76
When you're moving onto new ice and spudding as you go, do you guys use one hand or both? Last winter I was lazy or impatient and would just use one hand, keeping the other on the rope to pull my sled. After a couple weeks of that my elbow started to hurt and that lasted for months. Almost back to normal now, but I'm not going to go one handed anymore. I think it's because my joints aren't what they were back when I was young.
I actually like a heavier ice spud and I kinda let the weight of the spud do the work for me. I just spud one handed as I move along and a heavy (sharp) spud makes this easy. I sharpen the heck out of my ice spud it makes a huge difference. (She'll knock through 2"s of ice easily with a one handed drop) a lot easier on your arm that way. Keep em sharp


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I opposite ibhave a light dull spud. I know what I wanna hear from the ice and see if not snow covered. I can punch that through more than fishable ice. How have you go through means nothing compared to the sound it makes. And truly knowing what you will fall through on. I have been through way to many times when young and knew almost every time before it happened it would. Stupid as most of my group and me were back then we know the ice damn good now.
 

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I check the ice as I go by spudding with one hand . The other hand has my scoop auger and ice box slung over my shoulder.
If you get out there a ways on good ice, you can ease up on throwing the spud with every step and just walk a bit.
BUT, any kind of change, start testing again. By change I mean the color or texture of the ice, a snow line ( no snow to a dusting of snow) wet spot or just a dif thickness of snow.
3” of good hard ice is fine. 5” of bad soft ice is not always.
Don’t be afraid to turn around and go home if you’re not sure, even if others or already out.
If they go thru while you’re there, it’s your life at risk trying to save theirs. If they go thru while you’re home, you just made the smart call.
But do carry a rope. Mines just 3/16 dia wrapped around a 5” ring.
3/16 because it’s small and heavy enough to “assist” someone out. The ring is for them to put an arm thru

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I check the ice as I go by spudding with one hand . The other hand has my scoop auger and ice box slung over my shoulder.
If you get out there a ways on good ice, you can ease up on throwing the spud with every step and just walk a bit.
BUT, any kind of change, start testing again. By change I mean the color or texture of the ice, a snow line ( no snow to a dusting of snow) wet spot or just a dif thickness of snow.
3” of good hard ice is fine. 5” of bad soft ice is not always.
Don’t be afraid to turn around and go home if you’re not sure, even if others or already out.
If they go thru while you’re there, it’s your life at risk trying to save theirs. If they go thru while you’re home, you just made the smart call.
But do carry a rope. Mines just 3/16 dia wrapped around a 5” ring.
3/16 because it’s small and heavy enough to “assist” someone out. The ring is for them to put an arm thru

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Well said. Went out Sunday on a lake hadn't been on yet. 10 15 people on it. Walked out studding. Not great but safe. Got out by group and could almost push spud through 3.5 4 inches of bs. Half of them knew me and couldn't understand why I turned around and said no thanks. Not one had a spud. And entrie lake was snow covered. Try getting over to a small cove and went from rock hard to slightly froze slush in 2 steps.
 

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Well said. Went out Sunday on a lake hadn't been on yet. 10 15 people on it. Walked out studding. Not great but safe. Got out by group and could almost push spud through 3.5 4 inches of bs. Half of them knew me and couldn't understand why I turned around and said no thanks. Not one had a spud. And entrie lake was snow covered. Try getting over to a small cove and went from rock hard to slightly froze slush in 2 steps.
They probably were also not impressed with your studding onto the ice o_O
 
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