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 Iím working late meeting the newspaper deadline (which is the #1 reason Tuesday isnít normally my favorite) Iíll 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 isnít 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 Iíll 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 weíll be able to do a little ice fishing late in the week. Who knows, maybe weíll 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, Iíd almost rather see it stay warm long enough to melt all the ice away. I donít 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 donít think we will be ďluckyĒ 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, itís 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 weíll 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. Thereís 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 wonít be able to be without it on future outings.

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

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