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Jim Uran

The Spirit of Fishing

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The best place to be is on the ice. What draws us to the ice or to the water is tough to answer in a nutshell. There are far too many good answers to that question, and most of us will answer it differently. Even though we grew up differently, in different areas, and in some cases, different eras, we can all unite on the water in its two most popular forms, ice and water, my favorite form being the hard water version.

I have spent a lot of time on the ice this year, developing patterns, tweaking gear, perfecting the nuances of my Clam Scout TC, wondering where that school of fished just went, smiling while gazing into the eyes of a big bull bluegill or wiping crappie slime on my Striker Lite bibs. The complexity of trying to describe an ice fishing trip is overwhelming at times and often gets dumbed down into how deep, and how many fish. There are too many variables and what-ifs, and never enough smiles and fish slime.

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Often times we over complicate fishing, turning it into a science rather keeping it a mystery.

I believe it was the mystery that turned us all into fishing addicts in the first place, the “science” is largely to blame on our great ice fishing electronics that are offered now. I say blame, but really it's more of a blessing, if you haven't fished with something like a Vexilar FL-22 HD than you wouldn't know what I am talking about. Heck, even reading the name of that fish conquering machine makes you feel like you are a better angler. Handheld GPS's, underwater cameras, quiet efficient augers, and awesome suits made for ice fishing have made the mystery a whole lot easier to crack. It was the mystery that hooked us, and it's the science and technology that make it more interesting , and that is what keeps us out there.

Share the passion, pass it on to your kids, your friends, and those not lucky enough to have someone to take them out, and teach them what you have learned. One of my most important tools out on the ice is my camera, taking good quality pics out on the ice makes it easier to release those fish that deserve to be caught again.

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In retrospect, I can see all my problems go through the last line guide on my pole. It's not a matter of only catching fish that keeps me out there. It's being in the elements, figuring out simple and complex problems, trying to fill the hunger of my pride driven personality, and at times, trying to figure out just where I am going in life. Yes, to me it's that deep, it's not a shallow mans sport, figuratively speaking.

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"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after"

-Thoreau

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Glad to hear you had/are having a great ice fishing season Jim. I'm getting used to a scaled back approach with a little one tearing around the house but it was sure fun to get out when I could. We even got to wet a line, you and me. Doesn't get much better than meeting new people and getting into deeper conversation. The world would be a better place if everyone stepped away from the computer and wet a line. More people would probably settle their differences on the water if given the chance.

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"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after"

-Thoreau

+1

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I keep it a mystery I'm GPS less and have no vexilar or cams, that to me takes the spirit away from my fun on the ice. I'm still lining up a silo with a pine tree lol, sometimes we drill em right where they need to be other times I'm in weeds thicker than you know what, whichever route one takes, prioritizing fun is what will really mean the most and enjoying time spent with people you enjoy. Plenty of ice fishing still to go smile !

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"Many men go fishing all of their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after"

-Thoreau

Is this from Walden?

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It's a quote attributed to Thoreau...here's what I found with a little more digging, taken from the nonprofit "The Walden Woods Project":

Quote:
Misquotation: Many men fish all their lives without ever realizing that it is not the fish they are after.

Michael Baughman wrote in his A River Seen Right (Lyons Press, 1995) p. 156, clearly paraphrasing and not quoting: “I think it was in Walden where he wrote that a lot of men fish all their lives without ever realizing that fish isn’t really what they’re after.” Baughman may have been paraphrasing from Thoreau’s Journal, January 26, 1853:

It is remarkable that many men will go with eagerness to Walden Pond in the winter to fish for pickerel and yet not seem to care for the landscape. Of course it cannot be merely for the pickerel they may catch; there is some adventure in it; but any love of nature which they may feel is certainly very slight and indefinite. They call it going a-fishing, and so indeed it is, though perchance, their natures know better. Now I go a-fishing and a-hunting every day, but omit the fish and the game, which are the least important part. I have learned to do without them. They were indispensable only as long as I was a boy. I am encouraged when I see a dozen villagers drawn to Walden Pond to spend a day in fishing through the ice, and suspect that I have more fellows than I knew, but I am disappointed and surprised to find that they lay so much stress on the fish which they catch or fail to catch, and on nothing else, as if there were nothing else to be caught.

The closest parallel in a non-Thoreau text is from E.T. Brown’s Not Without Prejudice: Essays on Assorted Subjects (Melbourne: Cheshire, 1955) p. 142: “When they go fishing, it is not really fish they are after. It is a philosophic meditation.”

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