Ice fishermen, and women, are the coolest folks on the water! Almost everyone says “Howdy”, and willingly shares fishing reports and conversation. This is not always the case on fly fishing waters, or other destinations. Some fishermen come off as snobs or just curmudgeons.
The other day I ventured onto a local mountain lake and started to hike toward a likely hot spot. On the way, I ran into a fellow named Nate. He was fishing holes left by another angler. His rods were short and laying on the ice. The jigs he had on were huge, with an added sinker. Nate also had no fish on the ice.
We had a wonderful conversation and I willingly gave Nate some suggestions and ideas to catch a limit. He eagerly made the adjustments and was ready to learn. Nate was becoming an Ice Man! I could have easily waved and walked past the cool fisherman, but that is not what Ice Men do.
Ice Fishermen are a family. We launch ourselves onto our huge frozen lake yachts and look out for one another. Ice fishing can be dangerous so having company and friends is always a good idea. All of us Ice Men have had days when some old, grizzled, heavily dressed stranger walked up and started a conversation. We have all invited others to take over our hot holes, after we have kept our fill. Many of our best ideas were shared with us by our Ice Man Brotherhood. The Sisterhood of Ice Women also bring a wonderful spirit into our frozen world.
Ice Men, and Women are not born, they evolve. Our first ice treks were more about fishing and not catching. Cold toes, fingers, and ice holes were the norm. Finally, a tip or trick from another fisherman, an idea from a u-tube video, information from an outdoor show seminar, or just plain luck, resulted in catching a fish!
Pulling a fish through an ice hole is magic. There is just something about having success in a freezing cold environment that starts this cool fishing addiction. Now that you caught one fish, your goal is catch a bunch. Then you want to catch a big on. Next a specific kind, or size of fish. Eventually, it becomes about showing others how to catch a fish. This is the evolutionary cycle of a true Ice Man!
Ice fishing is perfect for kids, friends and family. Groups of fishermen can share a small area and enjoy the day together. Everyone catches fish and is hooked on the fun. Sure, we all want to catch fish, but real Ice Men get fuller limits when they help others catch their limits too! The only problem is that we never fill our lifetime of limits. There is always one more cast, one more fish, and one newer friend to teach.
Tight Lines and Man Up!
For more Montana Grant, visit his blog site at www.montaagrantfishing.com.