A day on the ice


Essau Quijano

With snow pelting against my truck, I pulled up by Millhouse Bayou and saw Sr. Robert Dick unloading the sled. It was filled with all the essentials needed in order to have a successful day out on the ice. We safely made it on the ice. At this moment it was cold enough that I couldn’t feel my hands. Being a novice ice fisherman, I thought that I would be fine in just a small jacket, khakis, and some sneakers, but I was so wrong.

   Reminiscing on past trips, Dick talked about his experience on the ice in single degree weather when he didn’t own a shanty. “It’s not necessarily essential, but owning one makes going ice fishing a lot more comfortable and fun,” Dick said. It was about 25 degrees out with 15 mph winds. It was freezing, but within ten minutes we had the shanty up and running. We then set up the heater so we didn’t end up getting hypothermia. The feeling of actually being out of the wind was a relief, being inside the shanty was like a little personal apartment. The little foldable chairs, and the warmth that was given off of the heater was almost like being by the fireplace in the living room. Overall this added a positive experience that made it comfortable.

   During our day out on the ice, we set up our three poles with tiny maggots called spikes. These lil’ buggers were not like the ones you find feasting on rotting food, these  were a lot harder and better for fish in colder temperatures. We used this specific bait to catch the six bluegill and rock bass. When we were sitting patiently waiting for the fish to take the bait, Dick would grab the line and give it a nudge. He used this technique to get the fish’s attention. Once we saw the pole bend slightly, he would yank the pole to hook the fish, and reel it in. Afterwards, we carefully maneuvered the fish off the hook and tossed it to the side on the ice.  The fish had a tendency to flip out of control when we dropped them on the ice, and we could only hope it didn’t flop back into the hole. After that ordeal for each fish, we then put another spike on the hook and repeated the process.

   Overall my experience ice fishing was enjoyable and it is something that I would do again. Although it was freezing out and I didn’t know exactly how long we were going to be out there, all the tips Dick gave me will help me for future winter fishing trips. Going out on the ice with someone with a lot of experience and all the necessary equipment made the trip a lot more comfortable. I could trust that we’d be safe and that I was in good hands. The best part of the trip was actually catching the fish, seeing the pole bend slightly, and snapping it up. The anticipation was overwhelming when we knew something was on the line. We didn’t know if it was going to be dinner later that night or if we were just going to scrap it and toss it back in the hole.

   Now that I know what to expect, I will be more prepared when I go out on the ice again; I definitely will be bringing the right equipment. Bringing warm waterproof gloves and boots will be a must next time I’m ice fishing.