Posted by: tlnemethy | January 30, 2013

Ice Tectonics

The ice shifts often with a dull, but resonating crackle. It’s what I imagine the sound would be like if , from below, you listened to an ice-cube being dropped into a room temperature glass of water. The crackle and splitting as the two temperatures 0126131631bcollide and shift against each other. It’s an eery sound when you are standing on the ice in the dark and can feel the movement like an extreme version of plate tectonics.

Now, I’m a baby footed ice-shuffler. I’m the kind of person who tries extremely hard to remain sure-footed in the winter. If you knew me in college you’d probably remember me walking to class through knee-high snowbanks rather than chance a concussion or public flailing. No one looks graceful on ice unless they happen to be wearing skates or those special little booties for the luge. And even then you’d have to practice before you looked decent enough for me not to have a snide internal monologue.    Granted, I nearly always have a reason for a that monologue.

I don’t know what it is about purposefully choosing to spend hours on the ice that heightens both myCIMG3337 fear and my disregard for said fear. You could have six ice holes with a baited hook and ALWAYS have to run for the farthest one when a flag goes up. It could be the fish’s way of mocking me as a last defiant act, but it always happens that way. A flag waving in the air means I very well could have a nice catch on the line, but it could also mean that the wind caught the lever at the perfect angle to release the trap. It’s a crapshoot. And when I say run, I mean run. A slow jog just will not do the trick.

Lake ice isn’t smooth either, not like an ice rink anyways, there are bumps and broken air pockets, old frozen over ice holes with mounded auger shrapnel. It’s a minefield out there. I run and slide, letting my momentum push me forward, my upper body sprawled as much as possible trying not to fall on the jigging rod in my hand or the giant metal scooper in the other. And then, once I get to the hole I just plop forward on my knees because my layers are so constricting I can’t bend over. CIMG3338Sadly, the layers don’t help with bruising.

The fish we catch get tossed onto the ice; the single most awesome benefit to ice fishing. They pretty much freeze after only a few minutes out of the water and if you put them in the bucket they mold into awkward shapes that makes gutting much more difficult. Call me immature, but I have way too much fun with my fishsicles or pike-boomerangs. I would not want to get hit by that fish. Ice fishing is a safe sport because you don’t find many crazies crazy enough to go out when it’s freezing and on the off-chance they do appear you could just chuck some frozen fish-bricks at them. The seagulls are the only vicious things to bother you on the ice.

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