Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Peaceful 33rd

The only fish that I caught on my 33rd birthday.
When:Saturday, January 22nd (my 33rd birthday), from 8am to 3pm
What:Ice Fishing with Chris Martalus
Weather:Cold with a high of only 20, mostly sunny, 5 to 10 mph NW wind
Moon:Waning, 3 days after full

Although Chris and I had set our sights on our Numero Uno secret honey-honey to ring in my 33rd birthday, I had a bad feeling that this day wasn't going to produce many fish.

It didn't.

You see, just like me, fish don't really dig change all that much. So, when the temperature drops 15 degrees over the course of a day like it did from Friday to Saturday, life underwater can pretty much shut down.

Which it did.

The day started off with high hopes and anticipation. Our first stop after leaving Chilltown was to my folks' garage in Woody-Bridgeport to pick up the gas-powered auger that had been delivered there days earlier. Thanks again to the Thorne Bros. for their always-stellar customer service.

With auger in hand, we headed north, got our bait and were setting tip-ups by 7:30. We started jigging after the traps were set, but the fish just didn't want to bite. I caught that tiny-ass perch you see above after 30-minutes of bouncing my Hali-jig/mousie, but that would be the only thing that I pulled through the ice on my birthday. I had one flag go up that resulted in a miss and Chris caught his only fish, a much bigger perch, on a tip-up.

One apiece, pool-winner went to Chris.

It still amazes me how 7 hours of fishing can fly-by even when I'm not catching anything. The thought that the fish can start biting at any moment nearly always outweighs the string of hours when they have not been biting at all.

Plus, it was simply a beautiful day. Although the mercury never climbed above 20, the lack of clouds and wind made the day surprising comfortable. Out of the 5 times that I have been out already this winter, it was the coldest but undoubtedly seemed the warmest.

So, I only caught one incredibly small fish on my birthday. Was I disappointed?

Not at all.

The fact of the matter is that every day I get to be outside is truly a blessing and a gift. There was a time not too long ago when life was not this simple, effortless and enjoyable. I've also figured that I haven't even scratced the surface in terms of all the fishing that I will do over the course of my life. My thirties have me fishing between 50 and 60 times a year as compared to the 10 to 15 times a year I was fishing in my twenties. If I keep going at that pace, and I intend to step that up at some point, I will have a bare minimum of 2,085 fishing trips left in my life.

How cool is that?

Next Up:A possible winter hike with Janel and Linds this weekend before getting back to ice in February, where I will be every weekend thereafter until it disappears.

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