December 8, 2005

Outdoor Corner

by Chris Feeney

Typically Tuesday is my least favorite day of the week, but I had a star on December 6th on my calendar. While Im working late meeting the newspaper deadline (which is the #1 reason Tuesday isnt normally my favorite) Ill be keeping warm indoors while the mercury is supposed to drop to zero.

Okay, so for 99.9% of people, a big fat zero on the thermometer isnt something to celebrate, but for me and my fellow fishermen, the colder the better right now. The ice started forming late last week and had to grow over the weekend. But the snows came and actually hindered our pursuits, as the covering insulates the pond tops and stalls ice growth. But it would take a blizzard to hold off the ice this week when evening temps drop to single digits.

Unfortunately the first fishing opportunity may not be long lived as the long-term forecast is calling for temperatures in the 40s next week. Mother Nature giveth and she taketh away. While all of you are celebrating the heat wave Ill be sulking around, hoping that the ice is strong enough to withstand the melt, and that cold temps quickly return.

Still, I should have something better to talk about next week, as surely well be able to do a little ice fishing late in the week. Who knows, maybe well get lucky and the weatherman will be off a few degrees, keeping temps below freezing over the weekend.

Just the same, if it does warm up, Id almost rather see it stay warm long enough to melt all the ice away. I dont want to see another winter like last year, when the up and down thermometer kept us wondering about the ice all winter, as cold, hot, cold, hot, meant rotten ice, as the pond tops froze and melted and then re-froze, leaving the ice rotten and unsafe on many waterways.

Only time will tell what this first burst of weather truly brings for us ice fishermen. Regardless, I dont think we will be lucky enough to go all winter without a few more below zero days.

When we finally do get into ice weather, I know that there are three experienced anglers that will be willing to take on a novice or two that might be interested in learning the sport. We generally have an extra seat open in one of our tents, and just like any true fisherman, we have way more tackle than we could ever truly use. All we ask in return is that the student provide the classroom.

Now this may sound like a veiled effort to fish in your pond. Well okay, maybe it is to a degree. But, its not like we want to swipe all your fish. We just enjoy fishing at different locations. Generally we have more fish than we can eat, so well gladly practice catch and release, or help you clean the fish for your own fish fry.

Believe it or not, we also truly enjoy introducing new people to the sport. Theres no doubt in our minds that anyone that ice fishes with us will be hooked. As a matter of fact, we should probably get some corporate sponsors for our little ice team. This trio will introduce you to ice-tents, Vexilar fish finders and a whole world of equipment that improve the quality of the sport. Trust me, once you fish with some of this stuff, you wont be able to be without it on future outings.

Okay, maybe thats wishful thinking to expect these companies to pay us as boosters of their equipment. I dont have any aspirations of being a field rep, or anything like that. Besides, I dont want to waste my Christmas wish that fruitlessly. Id rather ask for about two months worth of good ice so I can fish from now until February. Sure Id eventually get tired of it, but then again Id like to be tired of ice fishing. Ive never had that opportunity. Usually its gone before we ever really get started.

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