My husband and I met in college. It was magical. No, that’s actually a lie. He thought I was annoying (I’m an extrovert, who *may talk a lot) and I mistook his quiet nature for rudeness. After about three months of hanging out with his roommates, and a cute story about how he really is a giant, nice, sensitive guy, I said yes when he asked me on a date. He dressed up, wore a tie, took me to an adorable town and had made reservations at a fancy place. And, the kicker, he acted a little nervous. I was kind of surprised, being that my interactions with him had given me the impression that he was rude, a jerk and not that into me. Turns out he was, we dated, got engaged and married less than two years later. It’s a classic “met my husband in college story”. But my favorite stories are the ones that follow.
I think Taylor’s family was under the impression that I was a city girl. Maybe it’s because I’ve lived in or close to big cities my entire life or maybe it’s because my immediate response to spiders is sheer terror. Either way, it made an impression on them that I had never, ever been ice fishing.
To prove that I was tough and could handle sub zero temperatures, I happily agreed to a fun day ice fishing. But, when I asked my father-in-law how big the ice house was, his response gave me a little clue to what type of ice fishermen they were. He said, “Hannah, we don’t really use a house, but I can bring the one we have.” And then I said, “You have a heater for it, right?” And he said, “I am sure we can find a nice little one.” The rest of the conversation continued in a similar fashion.
In hindsight I should have said, “I am super interested in ice fishing, as long as I am sheltered, warm, and holding a hot beverage with a snack. And I really want to catch fish.”
The day ended up being a smashing success. I caught the largest fish of the day! Taylor’s grandpa played a fantastic joke on me that involved me riding in a vehicle on ice with my door open (because, he told me that was the best way to escape if the ice broke. It was below zero, without wind chill, I now know that would not have happened). And I can now totally prepare you, the Northern Newbie, for your first time ice fishing. Did you just move to Minnesota? Did you live in a place where lakes do not freeze? Did you live where lakes freeze, but you couldn’t drive on the lake? Do you think outdoor stuff sounds fun in the winter, but you’re not sure you can do it? Did your coworker/friend/in-laws invite you to go fishing? Then this is list of reasons to fish and tips for doing so, is for you.
Reasons to Ice Fish
- FISH. It’s yummy. You can eat it fresh or freeze it for later. And they are so interesting. I maybe was a little sad about the ones I caught. But, I think they had a great fish life before we took them home. And we eat fish a couple times a month that have been caught by Taylor’s dad.
- Family Bonding. We had a really fun time. The morning was spent getting supplies, driving to the really fantastic location where the “fish were biting”, we fished and then came home and showed off our fish.
- Get Outside. Winter is long here. Go outside!
- Memories. We still talk about them to this day.
Tips to Ice Fishing
- Bring these things; a thermos with hot chocolate, pringles and a good attitude.
- Wear this; a million layers and the hand/toe warmer things.
- Technique. My technique is different than my husband and his family. I sit in the ice house on a bucket with the heater on. My father in law drilled a few holes into the ice in the house and then I only fished there the entire time. I caught a bunch and I caught the biggest fish of the day. I didn’t brag at all…
- Be Careful. Seriously though, ice is not a joke. It is very dangerous when someone falls through the ice. Seek help and medical attention immediately. Go with people who know what they are doing.