January 6, 2005

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

I spoke too soon. I was bragging about being one of the few folks that was enjoying the sub-zero weather. I got to laugh it up for about three days before Mother Nature gave us some good old Missouri weather and made a 60-degree shift in about 48 hours.

Unfortunately the good ice fishing weather fell on the calendar with the holidays. Christmas dinners, travel and Santa Claus duty limited me to just a few hours on each of the three outings I was allowed to make.

I was just getting geared up for a couple of all-day fishing excursions when the weatherman spoiled my outlook with his spring-like forecasts. Just like I was one of the few jumping for joy with the sub-zero forecasts, I may have been the lone sourpuss that was down in the dumps on the December day everyone else was running around in their shorts, golfing and celebrating the hot spell.

Of course a couple days into the hot spell, I was changing my tune. Instead of cursing the warmer temps, I was hoping for a few more days in the 50s, especially after the rains started. No, I haven’t shifted my attention to beach activities, but I simply was hoping for a fresh start for the ice. While the warmer weather did wonders for most people’s attitudes, it was not a benefit to the ice. But the stuff apparently was in such good shape, that the week’s worth of above normal temperatures wasn’t enough to allow us to see open water.

So instead of getting another shot at good surfaces when winter returns this week, we’re stuck with a bunch of rotten ice that will have fishermen wondering about safety. This type of shoddy surface scares us, as it is uneven and can have weak spots and other hidden traps right next to spots of good, solid ice.

So as the freezing rain continues to fall for day two, I sit here hoping for one last leap in the mercury to free us from this burden. Come on old sun, come back for about 48 hours and melt all that old junk away so we can have a fresh start for the rest of January and February.

If that doesn’t work I guess I’ll be forced to head north for better conditions. I mean, I have more than half a tub of wax worms left. Doesn’t that nine dollar investment warrant me budgeting a few hundred dollars more for a weekend trip to northern Iowa or Minnesota or somewhere the ice will be good until August. One thing is for sure, three half days of ice fishing just won’t last this guy all winter.

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