The Holiday Season is upon us now. Mrs. S and the US based children are heading to Tahoe next week for the annual family connect and celebrate activities. I’ll get 10 days of no one at home except for me and Mr. Giggs, which I’m looking forward to immensely. I like the quiet and the cable TV. One of the downsides of a new job is that I don’t have much vacation time, which means more time alone.
Speaking of alone time- Nothing beats ice fishing for self-isolation. So in that spirit I was out at the St Paul Ice Fishing Show over the weekend. Never made it onto the ice last year, between -25 degrees and 4′ of snow on the lake, I found other things to do, like watch binge watch
I have some observations-
People watchers, the St Paul Ice Fishing Show is the natural habitat of the Northern Redneck. If you don’t have Northern Redneck checked off on your list, please come up here in winter, they’re easier to spot when there’s no leaves on threes and the lakes are frozen.
My good friend Dr. Jeffery Roster, who is a paid thinker and Vice President of smart has coined the phrase “Intentional Innovation” to describe something or another, I forget what I don’t read much and understand less. In the Magical World of Ice Fishing I think that statement applies itself well, but I would add ‘Innovation to Drive Upselling” to the thought.
I have a theory on why there are 14 different jigging sticks, 11 different hole slushers and 42 different devices to move your rod up and down, because gawd knows how painful a wrist charlie can be after a full day of aggressive jigging. My theory is this- There’s a lot of down time on the ice. LOTS of downtime. And dudes sitting around drinking beer in huts on frozen lakes start getting really creative about ways they can improve their lives. Their lake lives, not their actual lives.
So with that, some of my favorite innovations in the grand sport of ice fishing.
You can help but be impressed with the converted RV’s out there. Full on deluxe accommodations in a 2000lb trailer that you drag onto a frozen lake with your ½ ton pickup. Some features I kinda liked, leather upholstery, most had Mossy Oak canvas, but leather is nice. Unless of course you have the heater cranked up and it’s 90 degrees in there (Been there) in which case sitting on leather in your underwear is going to be gross, but you could wipe it down better than canvas I guess.
Fake fireplace. Yup, right there in the wall. You could set the mood with some ambient dimmers on the track lighting, a fake fire.. Hmm set the mood with 4 guys in winter gear drinking beer and eating pickled eggs all day.. Does no one thing this shit through? That space would have been better used for an industrial fart fat based on my experiences with dudes in fish houses. “But Sir, with some of these amenities your wife might want to join you out there.” OK.. let’s think that through, stuck in an 8×16 hermetically sealed box on a frozen lake a mile from the nearest restroom, with nothing to do but fish and talk for two days with my wife… again, what could possible go wrong with that scenario. Better to go a little Spartan if you ask me.
Still think the fart fan trumps the fireplace.
Price tag on these things is around $15K or for me, $7.5 per use. Me thinks some things are better rented. Maybe after Mrs. moves to California.
Ice fishing is the grown man equivalent of playing fort. And there’s a lot of fort options out there. (Actually was told in confidence that more than one of the stalwart names in ice fishing gear around here got started they wanted a place to get away from people to smoke pot. I have no doubt about that given the dudes I see at the show)
Lots of canvas options out there for the shelters. I have a couple myself. We got portable shacks with LED lights imbedded in the poles, cell phone chargers, sonar units, underwater cameras, cushy seats and in one of them, a 15,000 BTU forced air heater that runs on a 50lb propane tank. The unit had micro ductwork that channeled hot air right under the fisherpersons seat. It would have to be 130 degrees in that seat. What could go wrong with that? 15K BTU’s
What came to my mind? Fisherman bent over a table in the ER, pants around his ankles with a puzzled doctor behind him asking “tell me again how this happened?”
More than a few ATV’s equipped with tank like snowmobile treads. They look really tough, and while I would like to have one, top speed has to be about 20mph. faster than that I’m convinced supports tread integrity. I see the tread flying off the front axle and smacking me in the face. And that’s where they’d find you, dead on the ice next to an idling ATV with tread marks on your forehead. Bright side only around here.
But if ATV’s aren’t your thing they had something that was essentially a john boat with skies, treads and a canvas tent. A self-propelled fish house. Best thing is, it would work in the summer as a super heavy, super slow boat. It also would work on days in the spring when you really shouldn’t be out on the lake because the ice is not safe. Downside is if you did break through in the middle, I’m pretty sure you’d have to wait a few days for the lake to open up before you could get back to shore. At least you wouldn’t die, but you’d have to talk friends into tossing food out to you with a water balloon launcher or something, and that would get old.
Moving fish house- $12K
And if you really wanna go large, the full on Bombardier dealie. Basically a minivan looking thing on skis and treads. Holes in the floor to fish through, more electronics than a battleship, cushy seats and vinyl upholstery. This thing was the bomb. $85K however. For that kind of money I think you could customize an Audi A6, which if I purchased something like that I’d be driving it to work anyway… actually I’d be living in it also.
Bottom line, we’re a long away from a bucket, chisel and jiggle stick.