“Ice is unpredictable.”
It’s a quieter time on the farm in winter. We finally get some downtime, and when visiting friends at farm conventions, I ran into some farmers with a pumpkin patch in Minnesota.
They were a gruff old bunch, all bearded and taunted me as a ‘soft Mid-Atlantic Boy’ throughout the convention. I had had about enough, so I asked, “What makes you so tough up in the Land of Little Sodas anyway?”
“Ice fishing. You don’t know yourself, and you don’t know cold until you’ve been ice fishing,” Brent said, and with that, they headed back to the hotel.
Intrigued, I came home and took a look at our irrigation pond. As you might know, we’ve had a legitimate Pennsylvanian winter, so when it froze, I got to thinking I should try this ice fishing.
I’ll readily admit that after one morning, I decided to get one of those little houses, ‘shanties’ as Brent called them, because I wanted to be tough, but not get frostbite.
As you can see, it was going great. It was quiet, and I actually had some good luck fishing, but then I sort of got out of the habit and back into planning for this upcoming season. I left the pond.
Apparently, that was my first mistake. You have to be in touch with the ice daily to understand what’s happening in the micro-climate of the frozen pond.
Recently the temps have been all over the board, but this past weekend, it was freezing! (At least my wife was complaining about the heat being too low again), so I headed out late Sunday to sneak in one last fishing expedition before removing the shanty for the year.
Everything was fine with my little camp heater, and the overnight temps were to hit 19 degrees, so I cozied up in my sleeping bag while I sat awaiting a bite at my pole.
Going to sleep whilst ice fishing is, apparently, the second BIG mistake.
I awoke to an unsettling cracking noise and found I had wet my pants. Technically, the pond had wet my pants as the hole for my fishing pole cracked past my 5-gallon bucket seat and out under the side of the shack.
As I recounted this story to Brent (who was laughing hysterically throughout), he explained that the warm weather doesn’t melt ice from the top-down but from the bottom up.
Whichever way it started melting, the weight of my shack did not approve, and I found myself busting the door open and gingerly stepping, trying desperately to avoid going for an impromptu Polar Bear Plunge – I FAILED.
Well, that was it. With a few choice words included, I told Brent that he could keep the ice fishing bit in Minnesota, and I’d like to offer a slightly dampened ice fishing shanty for sale, ‘used one season.’
I can’t wait for Spring 🙁
PS Happy start of April!