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Reeling for Ice

united jigsticker

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Every year, its a sign. The kids are at the bus stop, sporting their winter coats, mittens, and knit hats. It's getting colder.

Every consecutive morning that the thermometer on the house reads 32 or below, I make the same trek.

A trip to the local honey hole, chisel in hand. Hoping and wishing against all odds that there is ice.

I don't need much, just 2 and a half inches, give or take an inch, to hold my 165 pound frame and plastic tote trailing behind.

And just like years before, disapointment fastly sets in. There isn't enough ice. As a matter of fact, there isn't any ice. And I retreat, disapointed, yet still anxious.

At 5pm, there I am, grilled to the TV awaiting the weather report.

Ah Ha! 22 degrees tonight the weather person announces. That should make some ice. And then, with great anxiety, I think back to years before and try to recall how much ice was formed by previous 22 degree nights.

Why, I can remember one night as if it were yesterday. The low was 22 degrees, and the 1/2" skim that had resided on the lakes surface the day before was magically transformed into 2.5" of hard, clear ice. I was estatic. Afterall, 2.5 inches of ice meant I was fishing...On hard water!!! And I was glowing!

But then I grew fastly disapointed as I recalled there was already a skim of ice formed in this example. The lake is still wide open right now. But there is still hope.

22 is below freezing, and the wind will be calm. Perhaps tonight the lake will freeze over, and tomorrow night the safe blanket of ice will form, and I will be fishing.

I am happy, as I convince myself I am merely 2 days away from ice fishing.

But wait...I am soon reminded that not only is the lake wide open, but the water is still in the upper 40 degree range. Now I am depressed.

But then I get scientific. Water freezes at 32 degrees. Is that 32.0? Or is it 32.9? Afterall, it makes a huge difference in how soon I will pursuing pannies through the ice. I need to know.

Every year, around the same time, the front yard is sporting the ice augers, and shantys, as I prepare for the upcoming ice season. This typically takes place around Halloween.

Why so early?

Because one never knows when the first safe layer of ice will form. And if you don't know, then you may miss something by not being prepared. I will be prepared. I am every year.

Sharpening blades, rigging jig sticks, charging the locator battery, patching holes in canvas, and tuning up the gas auger. Yep, we're getting ready, and we won't miss a thing.

And then the neighbor comes over to remind me, just as he did last year, that his bedroom window is adjacent to my garage door, and he doesn't appreciate the sound of 2 cycle exhaust at 2am.

He reminds me that the season is early, and I am jumping the gun, just as I did last March, when he reminded me that my outboard is louder on water muffs in the driveway then it is in water, especially at 2am.

I apologize, and offer that he doesn't understand. I have an addiction. I have a desire. I have toget Crappie slime on my hands, or I just may go insane.

He reminds me of how I put away the snowblower last spring, and it was followed with an immediate foot of wet snow.

He reminds me of last fall, when I was for certain I would be fishing within days on hard water, and the week long stretch of 60 degree days that followed.

He reminds me once again, as he lowers his baseball bat, that he can not strike a man with a disability, but he would like to get some sleep, and he reteats home.

I think, deep down inside, that I can control the weather by my actions.

I mean, the neighbor can. He simply washes and waxes his truck every Friday during the summer, but only on the Fridays that preceed the Saturdays that I will be fishing. And it rains, everytime. If he can do it, then I can too.

Why else would I bundle up the kids, and send them to the bus stop, scarf's, mittens, boots, snowpants, the whole ball of wax. Nevermind if it is 60 degrees, we have to will the weather to chill.

It is extreme, I will admit, but I want to ice fish, and there isn't anything I won't try to bring Ma' Nature's chill here a few weeks early.

[Edit note from UJ: Some of the accounts told in the story above are exagerations for entertainment purposes only]

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Sharpening blades, rigging jig sticks, charging the locator battery, patching holes in canvas, and tuning up the gas auger. Yep, we're getting ready, and we won't miss a thing.

yup, hope you get out and use that auger more this year then last.


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I get that same feeling, To get out there and do some ice fishing. But by the time the ice is getting thin again I get that some feeling about getting in my boat. It is just a cycle that I and most go through every year. And after all these years it is just like a little kid getting excited at x-mas time. We just cannot wait till that special time or day. Later


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