Hooked on ice fishing

Ice fishing. I tried it for the first time two weekends ago, and all I’ve thought about since is how much fun I had and “When can we go again?”
Where have I been all my life that I didn’t try ice fishing until now? I live in Northwestern Ontario for crying out loud!
And not only did I just have my inaugural experience with the sport, but it also was only the second time I’d ever been in a vehicle on a frozen lake ice road—and the first time I’d gotten out and walked on water I might sail on one day or drive a motor boat across.
How cool was that!
I’ve often written “I don’t get out much.” I never realized until now just what that meant in the context of my evidently small bubble world.
I risk guffaws when I say that the entire ice-fishing experience drew as much awe from me as when a small child realizes that Santa Claus just left presents under the Christmas tree. But it’s the truth.
I’m 53 and for the first time I watched a manual-driven ice auger go through the ice like it was cutting butter—the volcano of ice shavings pouring forth from the blades loud in their sawing and then muffled by the choke of the icy blue below.
I remember staring at that 15- to 20-second process and saying, “Wow!” over again as if I had just seen something magic happen (like I said, I don’t get out much).
And then there was the ice-fishing hut—green canvas and wooden floor—carried across the ice as a suitcase and unfolded like a charm. Suddenly, my small bubble world was located in the middle of a frozen lake, and included a cozy shelter and a heater.
What could be better than that?
And there we were inside, he and I, each of us with an ice-fishing pole and a hole. And oh, did I mention I had a chair to rest my bones upon, and hut temperatures that allowed me to remove my mitts and hat while outside the mercury crawled up the thermometer to minus-20 C?
Sunlight reached through snow-covered ice (who knew!) and the ice hole lit up and the minnow on my hook—on its way down, down, down—glowed until I couldn’t see it anymore.
It was a thing of beauty inside the dark hut space. Amazing.
“Fishy, fishy bite my hook. You be the captain, I’ll be the cook.” (Yes, I actually chanted that a few times).
I’ve read the ice-fishing advice that suggests that the best thing about ice fishing, especially if you’re getting into it for the first time, is that you don’t need a lot of equipment.
True, particularly if a fishing partner like mine brings all the stuff I need, including chocolate.
But that wasn’t the best thing about ice fishing, especially for a first-timer like me. The best part—the part I will never forget—was pulling up my line with my hands, in what seemed like a forever moment, and spotting the fish I hooked lit up in the light of the ice hole like a piece of gold as I pulled it through.
Now that, folks, was a Kodak moment.