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Lifestyles

January 18, 2014

HARD WATER ANGLERS: Ice fishing more than a cold-weather sport

“Hard water” or ice fishing season is just beginning, and the enthusiasts believe that this could be one of the best years ever. 

This ancient form of fishing maintains some of its traditional roots, but modern conveniences make it a fun hobby, sport and method of sustenance that anyone can master. The fear of falling through the ice deters many people from trying this wonderful winter pastime and although it is a valid concern, following basic safety rules lessens this risk and places ice fishing as safer than down hill skiing, snowmobiling, winter driving or even shoveling snow.

Getting started with ice fishing does not have to be an expensive undertaking. 

The gear needed can range from the very basics to highly technical equipment and plenty of creature comforts. A local business such as Sportsman’s Adventures in Oneonta is an excellent place to not only pick up supplies but also get instructions. Owner Bill Decker was eager to offer a wealth of advice on how to get started with ice fishing. 

An ice fisherman himself, Decker explained that the basic gear is a rod, an ice auger for making holes in the ice to measure thickness and for fishing, a sled, a bucket for hauling bait and to sit on and the fish bait. There are plenty of extras that can improve your fishing success, including tip-ups that alert you to fish activity, shanties for shelter, fish finders and, most importantly, plenty of fellow ice fishermen for fishing hints and great company.

Decker said that one of his favorite accessories is an underwater camera for ice fishing. “I love seeing the activity, fins passing by and curious fish that come right up to the camera,” he said. “It is a great way to see which baits are attracting the most interest; it’s really cool to see. When I took my son out ice fishing with the camera, he was just as interested in watching the fish as he was in fishing.” 

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