Two Weeks on the Ice: Daily Log 9

Strategic moves, more snow and a pretty little snake

Two Weeks on the Ice: Daily Log 9

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

Wednesday, February 6, 2019
7:52 a.m.
16 degrees
Rhinelander, USA

We got a little over 6 inches of snow last night and driving on the lake is getting difficult. I got out here shortly before 7 and spent about an hour trying to move the shack 40 yards with Pete. It was getting slushy deeper in the bay so we wanted to move out a little closer to the main basin. 

Our videographer Paul just rolled in. We need to bring this series to life.

In hindsight, doing the local TV news interview yesterday was a good warm-up for this, but I’m still uncomfortable on this side of the camera. 

I’m having Wi-Fi issues out here for the first time. Such is life when you’re working out of an ice shack. Thirty years ago I would have had a typewriter out here.

Issues resolved. I’m available online.

I’m fishing. 

Back in the shack. It took a foot of line and then dropped it. I think my line was frozen. Last night I left my tip-ups and minnow bucket in the shack because I was worried new snow and my current lack of four-wheel-drive might force me to walk out from the boat landing in the morning. Anyway, I left my wet lines in the freezing shack over night and not taking the time to thaw them out properly this morning may have cost me. If a fish feels that resistance right away before it’s hooked, even a northern will let go sometimes.

I’m talking on camera. Shooting video for the website. Trying to be natural. Not sure if it’s working.

Not much action. But a one-flag day beats the hell out of the five days in a row I couldn’t even get the wind to spring one of my flags.

I worry that all this news and video coverage is making me lose focus. I’ve been off track the past couple days. Like I’m going Hollywood and losing the plot. Then again, as I look across the lake at the smoke rising from the paper mill, it’s a good reminder of exactly where I am.

I’m just a common man
Drive a common van
And my dog ain’t got no pedigree

Ryan just stopped out, and after some serious discussion we’re eyeing another move with the shack.

I’m up again. Same hole as this morning. It was stripping line when I got there and I grabbed it right away. Fish on! It wasn’t much of a fight — there’s a limit to the resistance an 18-inch northern can provide — but I put a dandy of a little snake on the ice. I’ve now caught fish on three consecutive days. That kind of streak is almost unheard of on this flowage. I think word is spreading.

The shack is now in it’s third location of the day, about 30 feet from where it sat previously, and 50 yards from where we had it yesterday. It’s a strategic move, trying to maintain our fishing grounds for the tournament this weekend. 

Lookin for love in all the wrong places
Lookin for love in too many faces 

Finally a little time to sit by myself and write. Shooting video is making me think a lot more about how I’m presenting specific stories. It gets more complicated as you add more elements. You need the right spices or you’ll ruin the dish.

One last video to shoot. 

This day has been about everything but fishing. Tomorrow I’m getting back to basics. 

The video work is done. I’m exhausted. I need to pick up and get off the lake. 

Final score: 2 flags, 1 fish

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


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