A Pontification on Ice Fishing


I started thinking the other day about ice fishing. You see I was traveling through northern Vermont where there is still ice on the lakes and people ice fishing. Honestly, I just don’t get the point. After all, if you need ice just put water in your freezer or go to the store and by a bag. Do you really need to sit out in the cold trying to catch it? Okay, I  know when you are ice fishing you aren’t trying to catch ice. But I still don’t get the point, therefore I pondered on it for awhile and hence, this pontification.

pauls ponderings ice fishing

However, before I begin, let me put a few things out there about me and especially why I have so much time to ponder and pontificate. For the last twenty years I have spent the majority of my time behind a windshield. I have made a living, not a great one but a living, driving around in various motorized vehicles. This has given me much time for pondering the mysteries of life. This is why anyone who drives for a living, whether a truck, car or bus (as well I suppose a plane and train) knows everything. Whether it is the fumes, watching windshield wipers go back and forth for hours, or something else, I can’t say for sure, but it is definitely a trait amongst all drivers. Personally I think it has to do with the fact drivers spend all their time alone and have no one to contradict them. If you have no one to argue with, you will always be right.

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, ice fishing.

Last week I was driving in northern Vermont, through what is called the “Northeast Kingdom.” Now I have no idea why it is called that and I suppose I could look it up if I were really that interested but I am not. I also drove into the “Great Northwoods” in New Hampshire. There are some really large lakes in the area and many times I see ice fishers (fishermen? fisherpeople?) on the lakes, and this got me to thinking about the whole ice fishing thing.

What is the thrill of sitting on a little stool or metal lawn chair, on the ice, in the cold waiting for a little flag to pop up? And it is cold up there, maybe not now as winter is almost over but it has been cold all winter. There were a few times this winter when the temperature was way below zero, like 13 below. That’s cold enough to make your nostrils stick together. And now you are sitting in the cold, putting a line with a hook on it into a hole where the fish are probably sleeping for the winter anyway? Are you hoping to maybe hit one of them on the head with the hook? Don’t get me wrong, I like real fishing, you know when it’s warm and there isn’t any ice on the water, but sitting in the cold..I don’t think so.

Sure, I have seen some little out house looking things out there, in fact I swear I saw one that may have been a converted porta-potty, and they probably can be heated, but so can’t my living room. And I know there must be all kinds of equipment out there that can be purchased, like heaters and chairs but I still don’t get it. But then I guess I have never been the outdoorsy type. I get all the outdoors I need when I look out the window of whatever I happen to be driving at the time.

I have to admit though that the snowmobiling thing appeals to me. When I am up there in the north woods I see lots of snowmobile trails and I could get into buzzing down these trails through the woods and fields enjoying the scenery. But then that has also started me thinking. What happens if you are tooling along and come around a bend and there is a moose standing there? I have encountered moose while driving and they don’t always tend to move. In fact I had one actually stare me down once, until she finally decided I wasn’t worth the trouble and slowly ambled across the road. If they didn’t move for a car I don’t think they will be particularly interested in getting out of the way of a buzzing snowmobile.

Ben Franklin’s Letter to his Daughter

So what do you do? Moose are pretty tall and I suppose you could try to go under them but then there is a reason for the expression “Hung like a moose.” Okay maybe it’s “hung like a horse, but same difference. I don’t think it would be all that fun getting your bell rung by… well you know.

I imagine the bigger problem in the woods would be wild turkeys. While not as big as a moose, and not hung like one, although I have no evidence of either, they tend to jump up at you when startled.  And, like moose, wild turkey’s don’t seem to want to move to quickly when approached. I suppose if you hit one you could take it home for dinner, not as easy with a moose, but then that would get us into another subject altogether, road kill or trail kill in this case and that could be a subject for a later pest, I mean post. Did you know that Benjamin Franklin actually wanted to make the wild turkey the national bird?

So what is the attraction with ice fishing? Is it really worth being in the cold for endless hours on the off chance some half dead fish will bump into your hook?  Wait… there is another kind of Wild Turkey isn’t there? Maybe that’s the attraction…

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2 thoughts on “A Pontification on Ice Fishing

  1. I’ve often thought that the New Hampshire primary for presidential candidates should be replaced with an ice fishing contest. See who REALLY wants the job:)

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