|Ice fishing: Not MY truck ( photo courtesy of 'tinfoil hats.com')|
" In fact, we're waiting for hungry fish to swim by"
It takes good quality ice to go ice fishing. Hard-water fishing, ice fishing, fishing through the ice --is stuff that dreams are made of when winter is upon us. Some brave souls will tell you that ice-fishing is
With summer, warm, regular soft-water fishing, we wildly cast baits of amazing descriptions all over the place on the best lakes, testing literally acres of water for a bite. We drag boats of all descriptions for miles to get to the best fishing-holes. Fish finders or not, we may go home fishless and skunked --to eat pizza. So much for the $16,000.00 bass boat. Fish are where you find them.
I know, let's get a bigger motor, go faster, farther, how about fly-in? My friend Mike Williams knows a good spot, even if he got a permanent sore thumb and a death-defying ride over a soft-water waterfall out of the deal. Have no fear, he survived to tell the tale, --but I digress. You get the idea. Fish are where you find them.
Something very optimistic happens to fishing enthusiasts in the winter. What is it, brain freeze, cabin fever or an overload of the eternal brew of optimism ?
In it's simplest form, we drill a hole in the ice, drop a baited hook straight down into the water, and try to keep our hands warm at the same time the hole is doing it's best to freeze itself shut to keep the fish warm. Meantime we try to keep our feet from freezing. We wait. And wait. In fact, we're waiting for hungry fish to swim by.
Now that is a fine theory, but everybody knows fish are slower and more lethargic in colder water and are 'less likely' to swim by'. No matter. We go anyway. Get out the $65.00 ice auger. Made in Sweden. The arm-strong kind. No woosie motor augers or fishing huts with satelllite TV for us.
We might drop into the nearest bait shop and get ten bucks worth of live minnows. Wiggly, shiny and fishy. Use those lively, tricky little rascals --or be humane and use inanimate, rubberized shiny and fishy lures. No matter, both work. Maybe.
Off we go, heading 60, or is it 90 miles to the favourite lake --the one not too far from the highway. On the way, the ice on the puddle lakes doesn't look so good. Wet spots. Now,...-- almost all smart sportsmen and readers at Incoming Bytes know it's dangerous to walk out on wet black ice or any ice less than 4" thick. Play it safe.
I like 12" of ice under me because I have an aversion to being unceremoniously dunked in ice-water. In some lakes, because springs provide warmer water underneath, the ice may not be too solid, or becomes dangerously thin in some areas even while the rest of the ice is fine. Makes 'ya want a nice Mustang floater suit. I don't have one.
Down the highway farther, we're persistent. We're singular-minded, we're going ice fishing, come hell or high water.
The incoming pickup trucks towing trailers with snow machines of all colours are coming back from the great outdoors uncharacteristically early. No matter, we're optimistic. Nice drive. Sun's shining. The pups enjoy the scenery, especially the water dog. Here we are. Finally.
Yep. The rivers are wide open, the real wet stuff happily running wherever rivers run. Usually into lakes with very bad ice. Thin ice. When we get there, the ice really sucks. What ice?
Oops. Nice afternoon drive. I was going ice fishing.
Is that incoming I hear?