Lighter Side

What is life if there is not laughter? Welcome to the lighter side of flyfishing! We welcome your stories here!
March 26th, 2001

Ice Fishing - Don't Do It!

by R.L. "Bob" Nunley

Well, maybe that title, Ice Fishing, isn't completely accurate . . . What I should have said was "fishing while getting peppered by chunks of ice falling from the skies!"

Since the shop was a little slow during the nationwide cold front/winter storm we were having back in December, I thought to myself "What a great day to go flyfishing... Nobody will be on the river and I'll have it all to myself."

Well, I did just that, so I thought I'd share this little adventure with all of you (would have said "with ya'll", but I get razzed enough about my accent without using it on here!)

That day, I headed out for a really terrible pellet head fishery here, just before the ice storms moved in. Of course, it was like any day of sub-freezing weather, constantly shaking the ice out of your guides, stripping the frozen stuff off of your line. You know it's time for that when you double haul and can only shoot six feet of line and when you do, a white mist of ice comes off the line as it struggles through the guides.

It reminded me of the days I lived in Idaho, and things like this were common, so I also remembered another trick I used to use . . . keep in mind that saliva, NOT being pure water, and having a higher content of sodium and other such things, will not freeze as quickly as pure water. . . I used to "spit" on my tip top, and would actually get one or two more casts out of it that way. Well, thinking that, I decided, hmmmm, if the water in the stream will melt the ice from the tiptop, surely if I just stick it in my mouth for a second, it will do a much quicker and better job. After all, the water in the river was about 45 to 50 degrees F. and the saliva in my mouth was a constant 98.6 degrees F. Makes sense, right?

Ever stick your tongue to a flagpole when you were a kid? Well, when the temp has dropped to 20 degrees below the dew point on the river in just an hour or so, the same thing will happen if you stick your tiptop to your lips and tongue. I had my little 6 footer, butt on the ground, hanging from my mouth, my eyes crossed trying to see what the problem was. Finally, I figured out that if I'd cup my hands around my mouth and breathe heavily, it would release me from my bamboo imprisoner. This took a few minutes, but it did work.

Needless to say, after that, I quickly decided that it was just a bit too cold to be on the river, packed rod, reel and previously imperiled lips and tongue into the car, shook the ice from my hair (OK, no comments on how small an amount of ice that might have been) and promptly returned home to the warmth of my recliner.

I sat here for quite some time hesitant to even smoke a cigarette for fear I would have to cup my hands around my face and do the hyperventilation exercise again to get it loose. Things like a fly rod being stuck to your face leave a bit of a temporary psychological impact, ya know. But I'm fine now, smoking again, drinking coffee again, but never, and I mean NEVER again will I try to melt the ice from a tiptop with my mouth. Methinks saliva is better left for non-flyfishing things, And from now on, the water in the river will be fine for melting the ice from my tiptop. ~ R.L. "Bob" Nunley

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