Sorry, you guys. Didn’t mean to use the “zillion” word. It was a moment of weakness.
So how many of you have ever gone ice fishing? Show of hands? (And did you like your adventure on ice?)
I never ventured out ice fishing until last winter. You know, you’ll do anything for a blog. Especially when you have committed to go outside for 365 days in a row and are afraid to run out of adventures. It was fun! I even caught a fish.
This year Barry’s been wondering over and over again if I would please go ice fishing on Lake Superior. I kept putting him off. Until the day of the zillion hits when he said, “Kathy, you’ll need something big to follow this blog.” Guess what his definition of “big” might be? To go ice fishing, of course!
Off we went on Wednesday about noon.
I cannot tell a lie–I was nervous about walking on the ice. Almost whimpering-nervous for a while. “It’s cracking, do you hear it?” I whined, quietly, to Barry so his friend Mike wouldn’t overhear. “We’re going to fall in!”
Barry simply rolled his eyes and kept walking, pulling the sled. We headed out to 264 feet of water, a half mile out in the bay. The guys cranked their hand augers around, digging holes in the ice.
The ice measured eight thick inches. We were probably safe.
After the fellas dug the holes, they baited their bobbing sticks. The Finnish folk around here call them “gabbus” or “gappus”. They hold 300-400 feet of wire. You put your sucker bait (or whatever kind of bait you’re using) on your special jig and toss it down the hole. You lower the bait and wire, unwrapping it, until it hits bottom. Each wrap of wire on the bobbing stick measures two feet. You count to 132 and you’re at 264 feet deep. The bottom.
It’s a skill to know when you’re on bottom. It suddenly feels heavy down there. My one ice fishing skill so far is that I know when the jig hits bottom.
You pull up a lawn chair or bucket–if it’s a nice day like Wednesday and you don’t need your tent and heater–and move the wire up and down. That’s called jigging. You do this ever so slowly. Everyone has a technique. Some people say you “feel bottom” and then move up a couple inches. The lake trout feed near the bottom and they will take one look at your sucker bait and bite hard and you’ll be on your way to catching a zillion fish.
Believe that one?
Let’s just say you don’t get a bite instantly. Let’s just say no hungry trout nibbles. Let’s say you want to go visiting your neighbor. That’s when you put a bobber (the yellow ball in the picture above) on your line. Then you’re allowed to snap a photo or six.
Lots of things happen out there on the ice. People stop by and want to know about your luck. Are the fish biting? How many fish you got? How long you been fishing?
Our friend, Nancy, arrived around 3 p.m. She and I fished together in a tent last winter and had the best time. Today, with temps in the upper 30’s, very few folks set up tents.
What do you think? Does Nancy have a fish? Will Barry, Kathy and Mike catch trout? Will we catch a zillion fish? (No, don’t think the Michigan Department of Natural Resources would approve of that…) Did we fall in Lake Superior?
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog. I know it may be hard to wait for another day–but we have too many photos to fit in one blog. And too many fish stories.