If youre one of em; you know the routine. If you arent, youll never understand. Its a passion that ranges on obsession and begins with an unnerving interest in the weather which increases incrementally as March creeps into April.
April 1, Opening Day of trout season comes and goes. The rivers are fast and full, the snow banks high and hard and the ponds retain winters white cap. Ice fishermen are still busy.
It builds slowly, as the melt continues. Topo maps mysteriously appear, scattered loosely across the dining room table. Reels are carefully cleaned, oiled and strung with fresh line. Rods are polished, line guides checked for nicks and abrasions and each is stowed individually in rod cases. A vast assortment of Lake Clear Wabblers, like spoons without a handle, are sorted, shined up and tuned to perfection. A few, usually favorite color choices, are readied with fine leaders.
Jigs, lures, flies and lies are prepared, gathered and readied in anticipation of ice out. Visions of past seasons filter through your memory and each evening, as you surf the channels, only The Weather Channel remains on speed dial.
Each day, while driving to work, you cast an eye on roadside ponds, hoping for a glint of open water. April is two weeks old and still, the ice remains solid.
Out comes the photo album; as if more fodder is necessary to whet your appetite. You look out the window again, wishing the snow banks away, yet flurries continue to fly.
Finally, the draw is too great to resist and a thought persists, It was the same type of winter, lingering just like this one. They said, it was too early, but it was open!
Back then, current below the old dam had created a small opening. Each cast was hit so violently; shivers reverberate with the memories.