The Barnacle team will be away at sea for the month of July, check back in August for our next print issue!

Crushing Fish On Ice



(Illustration: Charles Weiss)

Would I find a biting fish? Winter conditions along the edge of a familiar county back lake would have me adapting a frozen water approach. 

I would have to drill with a hand cranked large auger down through one foot of hard water. 

My technique would be to stand at the ice hole and gently vertically jig up and down a lure or bait to attract/charm/entice a fish to bite. What to use for a lure? Something with a hook.

Modern methods of ice fishing include understanding many senses of the fish and their seasonally changing watery world.

I decided to use my regular warm weather season tackle and jig a lipless rattling bait to catch a notoriously aggressive biter in the form of a chain pickerel. I walked several hundred feet out on the lake and drilled down several holes. 

Time passed slowly as my lure was catching old dead vegetation on the lake bottom. Suddenly, a ruthless watery predator pulled the lure in a quick burst of speed and was pulled unceremoniously up through the hole and onto the ice. Almost two feet of finned fury in bright green colours was suddenly shining in the afternoon sun. 

 With a sharp fillet knife my catch was quickly cut up into fillets for dinner.

My winter includes cold weather fun and leaving only snowy footprints and no litter behind.

The ice has appeal beyond the visual. That day, the ice was cracking and rumbling. And I felt every one as I was standing right on top of the fish I was trying to catch.

Charles Weiss is an artist and writer living for the past few years in Pleasantville. He is originally from Southern Ontario where he illustated and wrote editorial stories for newspapers and magazines including the Toronto Star and Real Fishing magazine. He regularly exhibits his paintings and sculptures in Lunenburg Art Gallery.


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