Wednesday, February 05, 2014

A Fish Tale

To say John is an outdoor enthusiast is an understatement. For as long as I can remember, he has been passionate about the outdoors. He's an avid angler and hunter and is always trying to convince me to join him. Perhaps he's remembering the days when we were kids. I would be by his side as we went fishing in the ditch or exploring in the bush behind our house.

This weekend, I found myself beside him once again in an ice hut on Mitchell's Bay. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but thought I'd give it a try. So, I hopped in the truck with John, Josh and Kaelyn and set out for an adventure.

John has a 4 wheeler that he normally takes, but since we were only going for a few hours, we decided to save loading the ATV into the truck and take the "ice taxi" instead. Sounds pretty impressive, right? In reality, it's a tractor pulling a wagon with bench seating. And let me tell you, it was a wild ride! Lots of bumps along the way, but sure was better than pulling all of that gear.

We got off the ice taxi and that's when I realized, we still had to pull all of that gear! Shut the front door! We started off in the direction of the huts that dotted the horizon. Pulling the sled loaded with gear was not too bad in the beginning. But the longer we trudged along, the further I got from John & Josh and the more I questioned whether I would actually make it. Kaelyn, God bless her, stuck by my side. What a trooper.

We finally arrived to a suitable spot and the three of them set to work setting up our "camp". Clearly they had done this before. While Josh set up the hut, John drilled holes and Kaelyn scooped the slush off the top. Before I knew it, we were ready to get our rods in the water. And, that's when my phone (which was my camera for the day) powered down. Nice. Thanks a lot. I had 70+% battery so I have no idea if it was too cold or what. So disappointed. I have no photos of actually fishing.

I started in hut #1 with Josh. (yes, there were 2 huts) It was cozy. We had a heater and padded seats that flipped down from the side. I was impressed. Josh baited my hook and explained that I should "jig" the line occasionally. So, that's what I did. It was pretty cool to be able to look right down the hole and see the fish when they finally arrived!

After about 20 minutes of no bites, Josh went out to explore and John joined me. We waited patiently and then heard a ruckus in the next hut as Kaelyn caught the first fish! It wasn't long before I could see fish curiously checking out my minnow. Before I knew it... I had a fish! When I envisioned the day, I expected John would take the fish off my line and hook the bait. But, when I caught that first fish, there was no time for him to help me. He was busy catching fish! So, I grabbed the fish, unhooked it and re-set the bait with another minnow. It didn't take me long to catch on.

In total, we brought home 42 perch. John & Josh have a system when it comes to cleaning them and spent more time than I would have the patience for fileting the fish. I got to take enough home for a few dinners.

My favourite part about the day was not catching the fish, but watching John catching fish. The excitement that oozed from him was that of a seven year old boy. It made me so happy to join him for something he is so passionate about. Good thing I got a one year fishing license!

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