Some time over the course of last winter I got it into my head that I wanted to go ice fishing, which I thought at the time was a bit odd considering just how much I dislike winter.
I don’t like having to go out into the cold, even when it’s out of necessity.
That being said, a few days later I ventured into one of the local fishing tackle stores to inquire as to what kind of gear I might need to get started.
I’d always been pretty much under the impression that all a person needed was a spinning rod with the tip broken off, a reel, some woollen longjohns and a five-gallon ice cream bucket to sit on. Boy, I was surprised to learn just how sophisticated ice fishing gear has become in the past few years.
There were specially designed, two-foot-long rods that enable an angler to sit and peer down into their hole in the ice as they dangle their line in the water, smaller-sized reels that hold just enough line to reel in a fish if it makes a run for it, and monofilament line that will not turn brittle and break in ice-cold waters. There were also all sorts of polypropylene long underwear, one- and two-piece Gortex suits and minus 50-degree boots to keep you warm, not to mention two-person tents with heated padded seats and gear sleighs that one can either pull by hand or attach to a quad.
The good part was I discovered that a decent ice fishing rod and reel setup only costs $50 to $75. Having paid more than 10 times that for a fly rod set up, I didn’t mind laying out just over $85 for a top-of-the-line Fenwick rod with an Abu Garcia reel filled with Berkley Fireline Micro Ice Fused Crystal fishing line.
Not sure when and if I would get the opportunity to try my hand at ice fishing anytime in the immediate future – in part due to work restraints that no longer bind me – I decided to put off purchasing my own fishing shack with heated, padded seats for a while.
If the truth be told, I held off buying any more ice fishing equipment until this past summer. Last winter, while I could appreciate all the new high-tech gear that would make ice fishing more enjoyable, I just couldn’t see myself springing for the big bucks, which is why I started to look for things that I could use for ice fishing at thrift stores and garage sales.
Summer is a good time to buy winter clothing. I picked up a good pair of Sorel boots with leather uppers at a garage sale, and a two-piece Ski-Doo suit at a thrift store. I also bought a round cushion to put on top of the five-gallon ice cream bucket that I will use as my seat. It may have a red flower pattern on it, but who’s going to care when I’m sitting out on the ice in the middle of a lake. I have a Montréal Canadiens toque that I have never worn – again, who cares what I look like as long as I am warm.
I tossed around the idea of using a collapsible lawn chair, but I figured I could carry all my gear in the ice cream bucket. I’m always thinking.
All I have to do now is go through my tackle box and see what kinds of hooks and small lures I have that I might be able to use for ice fishing, and I will be ready to head out to the frozen landscapes of the ice fisher.
Me, an ice fisher, it’s hard to believe. I’ll believe it more when I’m out on the ice, but right now it’s too cold, it’s supposed to snow next week and I don’t have an ice auger yet.