January 12, 2014

Old school or high tech, give hard-water fishing a try

When it comes to outdoor skills, we all have to learn them somewhere. Learning to ice fish is no different.

Like so many other outdoor pursuits, ice fishing can be as simple as it was in your grandfather’s day, or involve using the latest technology available. You can catch fish either way. 

My father was not an ice fisherman, but a few of my uncles were. Therefore I was exposed to ice fishing a few times in my youth. I remember one of my uncles taking us perch fishing on Lake Champlain. We actually used tip-ups and did pretty well.

Other times, we used wooden jig sticks or just a piece of plywood with wedges cut into each end with string wrapped around it. We also hung out in a friend’s ice shanty from time to time. Those were memorable trips.

The busy lifestyle of early adulthood kept me off the ice. Then, a number of years ago I decided I really wanted to give it a try again. Fortunately, I had a few buddies who were really into ice fishing and took me under their tutelage. I’ve learned a lot from them and owe them dearly for the knowledge and friendship they’ve shared with me.

While I often venture out on my own these days, using my own gear and a little know-how, my best times are still spent with my fishing buddies.

Therefore if you are new to ice fishing, my first piece of advice is to find someone who has some experience. Beg them to take you and show you the ropes. If you have some equipment, great. If not, you’ll get a feel after a few outings of how you want to go about it and will purchase what you need.

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