As the weather finally threatens to turn chilly and remind us that we are, after all, in the middle of Winter, Fishpool recalls visiting a local pond as a child, fishing rod in hand and with thick ice bank to bank. My normal practice was to find a spot close in to the bank with a little bit of depth and clear as much if the ice as I could. These days, such conditions would see me fishing flowing water, but imagine a world where even the rivers freeze over?
Ice-fishing is practiced throughout the northerly areas of North America, Europe and Siberia. A hole, of no more than twelve inches in diameter, is drilled into the ice before a bait is lowered in. The rods, if used at all, are short – often only a couple of feet on length – while the line and hooks need to be strong enough to bully the fish quickly up to the surface.
Charr may well be encountered, along with trout, perch, pike, zander, walleye and bluegill. Live-bait can be hard to keep alive in such cold conditions so many anglers will use fish strips or small lures and jigs.
For real comfort, the ice-fisher may make use of a shanty – a small shelter in which to fish out of the cold. Some may be heated, or contain stoves for cooking, while others may house music systems or televisions. It sounds a lot like modern carp fishing – but on the ice you don’t even have to leave the bivvy…..