Two Weeks on the Ice: Daily Log 13

One last dispatch from the ice on a Sunday morning coming down

Two Weeks on the Ice: Daily Log 13

This story is part of a series on ice-fishing culture. To read all series posts, click here.

Sunday, February 10, 2019
12:57 p.m.
15 degrees
Rhinelander, USA 

Well, I woke up Sunday morning
With no way to hold my head that didn't hurt 

The last day. There’s a different vibe in the shack today. Sunday of the Jambo is always different. Guys laid it on the line yesterday and they don’t have much left to give today. We’re not even listening to classic country. Someone changed the station. I’m too tired to argue. 

Sunday is usually quite a scene. Someone arrives first and begins the painful cleanup process. And then one by one people straggle in with vague purpose and little direction, arriving eventually at the shack almost as if by pure chance.

No Jeremy or Tesky today. The rest of the core group is here. I was the last one onto the ice this morning a little after 10, but no one was here early. Pete’s dad brought us homemade biscuits and gravy. They’re holding me together.

A few brave souls are having a beer. I didn’t want one but I’m doing it for my team, trying to generate a spark. 

One hour and 28 minutes left to catch a money fish. The tournament technically ends at 3 p.m. but registration is open until 3:15. We missed that cutoff by no more than a minute or two one year. Steve landed it about 30 feet out in front of where the shack is now, just after 3. I think it was 29 ½ inches. He got to the registration station at about 3:17 and the fish didn’t count. 

Today’s current leader is 29 1/16. You have to top 27 inches to get on the board.   

I just found a box of donuts in the cabinet where we keep propane cylinders. Things are looking up.

And the beer I had for breakfast wasn't bad So I had one more for dessert 

“How long before we can leave?” 

It’s been a slow day of fishing. Reminds me of the first few days of my two-week run, only with less optimism. Licking your wounds on Jambo Sunday is just part of the deal. 

Seven of us threw a dollar in on first fish of the day. It looks like that’s going to stay tucked away in the shack until next time. Steve’s a lock to claim the $120 in our internal biggest fish pool. The first fish of the weekend is taking all the money — $40 yesterday and the rest today. 

I had only two flags this weekend and caught no fish, but that’s only one way to judge a Jambo weekend. By all other measures, it was tremendous. 

Guys are starting to get their stuff together, cleaning up the shack a little. Everyone’s pulling their boards at 3. It feels like the last Sunday of deer season, cleaning up camp and getting ready to go back to reality. 

It’s over. Time to pick up. I’m sad to leave, but I can’t wait to sink into my couch. 

Our boards are all wrapped. We’re just taking care of a few last things in the shack and then we’ll be gone. Another Jambo in the books, or written on the walls in this case. 

Hugs, handshakes and a few last laughs as we load our trucks and head out. Thanks again, friends. 

And somewhere far away a lonely bell was ringin’
And it echoed through the canyon 
Like the disappearin’ dreams of yesterday

This story is part of a series on ice-fishing culture. To read all series posts, click here.


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