I had spent the morning playing around with finishes on the weight shifting minnows, starting with foil and epoxy resin. Having finally come to the end of messing with their guts I thought it was about time I looked at some alternatives to my standard paint job. I have a love hate relationship with foil and fishing lures, I love the results but I hate the finicky nature of the material; I have suffered too many bad foil days. With the lures turning on the drying rack while the epoxy cured I set off for the lake knowing full well that almost all of its surface was covered with a thin sheet of ice.
The small patch of water that remained open was basking in the long rays of winter sunlight. I felt warm in that superficial way that allows the coldness to creep into your bones un-detected until the only remedy is whisky and a roaring fire.
I flicked jig heads and threw lures into the stillness of the afternoon as dog walkers eyed me suspiciously judging me for my addiction as they would the alcoholics and drug users who also frequent the place. Sometimes I understand that to be happy I need only a fishing rod and bucket of water to aim at.
After half an hour another fisherman ventured down the path towards the lake sporting a collection of plastic bags, a net and a handful of rods. He asked if he could set up next to me and being that the ice had reduced the options of where to fish down to a choice between which side of me and that I have never laid claim to any section of back I said yes.
So I threw some more lures and we talked about fishing here and in Australia from where he had escaped. He tossed a dead bait out and then set up a float rod to pick off any roach that were brave enough to head out from under the ice. He offered me mackerel as bait so I made up a trace and sent it out past the reeds.
It was hard waiting as the sun began to drop taking the temperature with it, a passing lady asked if we had seen her missing dog, a small grey terrier. My new fishing partner asked for the dog’s name and she replied “Woolfy”, without acknowledging the irony. When the wait got a little too long I decided to have a go at twitching the mackerel on a slow retrieve. After a few casts my retrieve was ended by a large swirl in the water; the bait bore the marks of a pike a little beyond the hooks. We speculated that the pike was probably full after snaffling Woofly down.
On the edge of darkness the ice began to set up on the clear water and I found I was now casting onto fishmonger’s slabs that had drifted from the main sheet; it was time to look for whiskey and fire.
Image Below: Fishing on the edge of ice