Deep thinking: Modern hard-water fishing vs. old-school ice angling
Ice fishing is the fastest growing component of the fishing industry, and it’s amazing to see the growth of product lines, ice fishing-only companies, and ice anglers.
But sometimes I long for a “back to the basics” outing. Maybe we could even use an fishing tournament circuit that returns us to the primitive days of ice angling. I’m talking even more primitive than five-gallon buckets and ice spuds.
How about zero synthetic materials whatsoever?! Hand construct whatever you use. Fishing line from sinew, hooks from bone, and bait you capture yourself. Unless you have the ability to extract, smelt, and craft metal, then stick with stone age materials.
No hand augers or metal chisels allowed. Pre-metallurgy, humans built a fire on the ice and heat rocks until they melt through. Early season ice fishing sounds simple, but can you imagine waiting for rocks to melt through three feet of ice in February?
Yes, all of this would be very labor intensive and a new twist on simplicity for an increasingly complex sport. I love the outdoors and technology, but like many others, I often wonder if we have made ourselves too dependent on all these devices. Are we making the outdoors a little too much like the latest app or video game?
I doubt it, but this generation of ice anglers will spend more time swapping horror stories of the battery that died too soon or the charger that almost started a fire. The previous generation’s stories were full of broken auger cords and hours spent staring at a hole in the ice.
Actually, even with all the world’s electronics, staring at a hole in the ice is what we still find ourselves doing. It’s what unites ice anglers over the centuries and stirs our innermost souls.
You can do some deep thinking staring at a hole in the ice. Much more than you can staring at a screen. So get out there and stare. Be thankful you don’t have to carve a bone hook and string a sinew line, but consider what you value about ice fishing.
Is it playing with the latest toys? Or is it something more connected to the outdoor world? Whatever it is, get out there and do it. The ice is ready!