Now armed with a new (used) ice auger, I couldn’t wait to get out and test it, so manned with our ice auger, poles and supplies all packed on to our new sled (Oh that’s right. I had to buy an ice fishing sled), Kim and I headed out on the ice with me towing the supplies.
Imagine an orange Pillsbury Dough Boy dragging Santa’s sleigh full of ice fishing equipment the length of a par 5. Much sweat and heavy breathing later, I fired up the ice auger and it started on the second pull! Did I mention the ice auger takes a special gas/oil mixture you can buy at the local auto parts store for about $7 a quart? I soon found that my workout wasn’t over because drilling multiple fishing holes takes a fair amount of effort. I also learned this tidbit quickly: don’t let go of the auger while it’s still running! Thankfully it turned off and didn’t just spin into oblivion. Or into the lake.
After drilling 6 holes, I set up Kim’s pole and tip-up. Kim’s dad was kind enough to pass on his ice fishing gear to us. As a result, I had to buy a large spool of new line and take off the 30 year-old line and replace it. Nothing like the hand over hand method of taking off thousands of feet of brittle, aged, fishing line. I recommend power-watching Netflix while you do it.
If you’re new to ice fishing, like Kim and I, you may not know what a tip-up is. I mean, we knew what it was, but didn’t really know how they worked. Thankfully, we found a Canadian on You Tube that showed us, step-by-step how to set the tip-up – “up.”
I then started on my poles as I couldn’t wait to finally get to fish. As I started to get my first pole set up, I noticed that about 8 spins of line had worked its way up below the spool. If you’ve never had this happen, consider yourself lucky. Otherwise you get to become the fishing reel doctor as you perform surgery to access the line culprit.
Once I got the spool off the reel, I peeled the line from around the spool stem. Of course I could feel kinks in this part of the line, so after stitching the patient back up, I got to pull several feet of new line off the reel to rid myself of the kinks and finally get my pole rigged for some actual fishing. One of my kin used to say it wasn’t a fishing trip with Mike unless I got snagged or my line all buggered up in some way. I really wish I could argue his point. SIGH.
I finally got my poles set up and we fished for a couple hours. Not one bite, so we packed up the Santa sled and returned to the Family Wild clubhouse. I crawled to the shower, rinsed off more sweat than you want to hear about and then passed out for three hours.
No one told me that ice fishing was a work-out sport.
I lay in bed dreaming of a 4 wheeler to haul our gear and my big butt out on the lake. I justified the idea for all I was worth: we could use it at camp to haul deer, drag food plots and save all the old guys from potential heart attacks. We could also use it to ride to our cottage and take our grand-kids for rides. When I woke up, I knew I had the solemn responsibility to buy a quad for the sake of our family’s health and well-being.
After searching Craig’s List, FB Marketplace, and other sites with no success, we ended up at Spicer’s in Houghton Lake. Spicer’s is Mid-Michigan’s leading seller of boats, quads, and ATV’s. We found an affordable 2010 Polaris for “only” $3000. Of course we had to buy two helmets because in Michigan an ATV driver must wear a helmet. Normally I wouldn’t be opposed to wearing a helmet, except in Michigan, motorcyclists don’t HAVE to wear a helmet.
From time to time I may use the phrase OIA – which can mean Only in Alpena or Only in America. I may also use the acronym OIM – Only in Michigan. Requiring the driver of a 4-wheeler to wear a helmet but not require the same of a motorcyclist – OIM. As if this wasn’t insane enough, OIM can you not allow a second person to ride behind the ATM driver, but you can pull a second person on a sled IF they’re wearing a helmet. Gotta love government.
For more on Ice Fishing on Houghton Lake – Part 3 Com’on Back tomorrow.
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