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Printed from https://www.writing.com/main/books/entry_id/395781-Hard-Water-Fishing
Rated: 13+ · Book · Community · #1031057
My thoughts on everything from albacore tuna to zebras
#395781 added December 31, 2005 at 11:38am
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Hard Water Fishing
Well, it’s New Year’s Eve. It comes every year about this time. Tradition dictates that tomorrow I make a nice big pot of Sauerkraut (homemade), kielbasa (homemade) and pork (store bought). All this on a low salt diet. Shhhhhh! I won’t tell if you don’t tell.

I won’t talk of resolutions. I won’t talk of my top ten whatever’s of 2005. I’m not going to get sentimental...well maybe just a little, and I won’t tell you next year will be better, even though deep down I hope it is.

What I am reminded of at this time of year, every year, is ice. Not in the ice cube tray or your driveway, but large expenses of ice covering hundreds of acres sometimes. You may know them as frozen lakes. You see, every year, for a long time, this was the beginning of my ice fishing season. (The first person that asks me how many pounds of ice I caught is going to get one of those New Year’s Eve popper things shoved you know where.)

Yes, I know, when people hear about ice fisherman, the common perception is that they are crazy. I’ll be the first to admit that it does help. But I’ll be real quick to add that you don’t know what you’re missing.

There are as many methods of ice fishing as there are fishermen, but they all have one thing in common, cutting a hole through a frozen lake, or sometimes river (this is where the crazy part helps). I’ve seen many different implements used for this exercise in hole duggery, everything from a Craftsman screwdriver and claw hammer to a double bitted logger’s axe. Between those two you can include chainsaw, brace and bit, ice auger – manual, ice auger - motorized, planting bar, crowbar, and a few other implements I’m sure I’m not thinking of. No self-respecting fisherman is going to let a little ice stand between him and freezing to death… I mean, and catching fish.

Every year at this time, my friends and I would get together on New Year’s Day to go ice fishing if there was ice. Without ice…what’s the point? There would be five or six of us, sometimes more. We would meet at a pre-determined lake, usually chosen by me, and proceed to haul all our equipment out onto the ice, caravan style. The equipment usually included a stove, venison, sausage, potatoes, hot coffee, tea, hot chocolate, liquid libation of the alcohol sort, and, oh yes, our fishing gear. There was also usually a radio.

We used tip ups for fishing mostly. They’re sort of like a bobber in non-ice fishing methods. You placed these in individual holes with your bait hanging below. When a fish took the bait, a spring-loaded flag would pop up, signaling the strike. The rest was up to you. Once that was complete we would set up the camp kitchen and begin to cook. The rest of the day was spent eating, drinking, running for flags, falling down and dancing to the polkas playing on the radio. You haven’t lived until you’ve seen five guys singing “Roll out the barrel…” and dancing with each other on a frozen lake. Nobody ever seemed to fish close to us for some reason or another.

This was a typical New Year’s ice-fishing trip for us. I tell you this, because tomorrow I will tell you about one not so typical, one that will stick in my memory forever.

© Copyright 2005 Rasputin (UN: joeumholtz at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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