For many anglers, especially in the Northeast, there comes that time of year when we can no longer fish in our area for a while....aka, Winter. Ice starts forming on the lakes edges, so getting the kayaks or boats in the water is no longer an option, snow falls and our ramps get blocked off by the piles of snow from the snow plows. The time comes when we have to winterize the boats, put away the kayaks and fishing gear until the world thaws out again. But for some of us, we are just waiting for our lakes and ponds to freeze over completely so we can get on that hard water and back on those fish! Until then... we become certified crazyyyy!
It had been 2 months since I last held a fish... since I was able to look forward to a day of what my mind and soul needed the most. It’s almost like I was out of meds. To most people, this would mean nothing to them. In fact, if I went up to any random person and said “I haven’t held a fish since November” they would probably just look at me like I was nuts. They might be right! Because for me I haven’t felt like myself since.
For us with the longing for fishing running through our veins, it's tough to get through winter and not suffer from a case of the winter blues.... especially when the one thing you love that you have all spring, summer, and fall is not longer an option. I can’t tell you how many times I ventured to a Bass Pro Shops, Cabalas or Dicks Sporting Goods and just walked through the fishing isles just because I miss fishing. Hell, I even bought myself a Bass Fishing video game. I caught my PB 7.8lb Largemouth on the Nintendo Switch, haha! Not quite the same but... I digress.
One Friday afternoon in January though, I decided I’ve had enough. I couldn’t wait any longer. I knew the water around where I live was still not frozen but damn it, somehow I was gonna get on some ice this weekend and catch some fish! I sent my buddy Mike a text and asked him if he was fishing on Saturday. Of course he was and said he was going North, so I asked if I could join him, made plans, and a-fishing we went!
From where we were, it was only about an hour ride to the lake but Mike told me there was going to be 12 inches of ice were we were going... How could there be so much ice only an hour away?! I had to see it to believe it. Lo and behold, when I left my house it was 10°F and when we arrived at the lake it was only 1°F... that explains that.
Regardless of the extreme cold and wind, we got onto the ice and down to business. We spent the entire day chasing flag after flag and I think I got in a good week's worth of exercise just in that one day! (Highly recommended as a cardio workout for the everyday angler!)
Being out on theice with sun shining and a beautiful view was therapeutic in itself and every time someone yelled “FLAG!” it was like another dose of medicine. The anticipation, the excitement and the wonder of what’s going to be on the end of that line when we pull it up is what we love so much. I pulled my first bass of the year through the ice this weekend and it felt like I hit the lotto!
Anyway, I survived just like I do every year and now I am back to having some ice fishing days to look forward to and believe it or not spring is right around the corner. Only 45 days! Not that I’m counting...