I think that people either feel one of two ways about ice fishing, and that there are few out there who waffle between the two. I would imagine that sitting in a tiny little shed on a frozen lake for hours on end either strikes you as a good time to grab a drink and catch up with some friends, or more like the ninth circle of hell, filled with people who promised you a good time, but then delivered something entirely different, like when a corporate limousine service Fayetteville NC tells you one thing about the snack they’ll be providing, and then delivers another. However you feel about the sport, there are plenty of people who seem to like it. Enough that I’m writing this blog post about
it, anyway. It seems that the idea of the ultimate ice-fishing experience changes depending on where in the world you live, but in North America, at least, it is considered a social event, and there are huge ice-fishing shelters available specifically to allow you to spend some quality time out on the ice with your buddies, some big-enough to hold bunks, and sophisticated-enough to have bathrooms and stoves.
I know, pretty swanky for a fishing hut. On the flip side, though, and perhaps what most of us would first associated with ice fishing, there are also little portable, pop-up shelters, sometimes called shanties, that are easily-transportable and help keep you out of the wind.
The first step to getting at those fish is, of course, to cut a hole. Generally, it’s suggested that hole be about 20 centimeters wide. The most commonly-used tool for making an ice-fishing hole is an auger, but you can also use an axe or a saw. Whatever’s going to get you to access to those fish. In really cold temperatures, make sure you’ve got something called a skimmer (which is basically a big metal spoon full of holes) to keep the hole from icing over. Every once in a while, skim the ice off the top of the hole to keep it open.
So, now that you’ve got your hold, you’re ready to fish! There are a few different ways to approach ice fishing. First, there’s what I imagine most of us think about when we think about ice fishing, which is a simple, light fishing rod with either a lure or live bait attached to the end, and bobbing it up and down every now and again to attract the fish.
A popular method is using what’s called a tip-up, which is essentially a nifty little device that notifies fishermen when something bites down on their line. This means you don’t have to sit all day holding the fishing rod, which, understandably, is a plus for some. Alternatively, and not as common, is spear fishing.
This requires quite a bit more setup, as you need to be in a dark shanty and have a much larger hole. The method consists or pretty much exactly what you’d think, in that the fisherman waits for the fish to swim by, then plunges his many-pointed spear into the water in an attempt to skewer the fish.
Whichever method you decide to employ, make sure you test your ice, bundle up, and don’t forget the hot chocolate!