December 23, 2004

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

As I was preparing this weekís weather report for the newspaper, I couldnít help but let out a little shout of joy.

My co-workers all assumed there was a heat wave coming, or at worst, maybe a little snow so we could have a white Christmas.

But my joy was generated by the forecast of three straight days of single digit temperatures. Iím not crazy, nor do I really enjoy the frigid temperatures. Iíll shiver just like everyone else as I trudge into work these next couple of days. But Iíll be smiling as I know by Friday that Iíll be sitting on a frozen pond somewhere getting in my first ice-fishing outing.

Most sane people are dreading our first real extended cold spell, but this nut has been patiently waiting for three or four really cold days to put the finishing touches on these pond tops.

Granted the below-zero temperatures that evening will be hard on the fishermen, but a little preparation and plenty of fish biting will quickly warm up even the coldest angler.

The worst part will be getting out initially, cutting the holes and setting up the equipment. Once all the work is done, Iíll be cozied up to my propane heater inside my tent, watching my Vexilar as I hopefully will find plenty of hungry bluegill and crappie. Itís amazing how quickly I can shed my coat and be completely comfortable in my little home-away-from-home despite the bitter cold on the other side of the thin tent liner. Itís no wonder we can spend hour after hour ice fishing. No one wants to go back out into the real world and freeze while we are picking everything up and loading the gear for the trip home.

Even if the fish arenít biting, Iíll be content. Iím still sore from two straight weekends of bird hunting, so lounging around chasing the fish will do my body much good.

If you read my article last week praising my bird dogs, youíll note there still is no advertisement offering free hounds to a good home. The three canines earned their keep once again. The hunters werenít as successful, but that had more to do with our marksmanship than the dogs abilities. As a matter of fact, I suspect if there was a local dog newspaper we might be reading an advertisement giving away some poor-shooting hunters to anyone that would have us.

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