Yesterday morning I went spear fishing with my father-in-law (Joe) and brother-in-law (Jayson). It was my third time, and Jayson’s first. It’s not nearly as cold an endeavour as you might think. We dress warm, we’re in a shanty out of the wind, and there’s a small heater. The heater can make it unbearably hot in about 90 seconds, then we turn it off and it takes about an hour to get cold again.
We rolled out of bed about 6 and got to the lake about 8. The sun wasn’t quite above the horizon yet, but it was making the sky glow beautifully, as well as shooting a beam of orange light straight up. You can sort of see it in this picture.
We got into the shanty, turned the heater on, and shut the door. After a minute or so we shut the heater off and sat in the dark, looking down into the hole. The shanty is 4 feet by 7 feet, and the hole is 4 feet by 2 feet. With the door open it looks like a black hole, but in the dark it’s the only source of light, and you can see all the way to the bottom.
We put down some bait fish on hooks and settled in to wait. That’s how it works, you just sit there and wait for a fish to come along. That makes for a lot of time for shootin’ the breeze, or just thinking. It’s hugely relaxing.
When a fish comes, they either drift in super slowly, and it’s hard to tell they’re there, or they come in like lighting and you get about 3/4 of a second to do anything about it. Yesterday morning about 25 minutes after we sat down a big ol’ pike blew up off the bottom and nailed one of our bait fish. It hit the fish about a quarter second after I saw it initially. I stood up, slid the spear into the water and nailed him about a half second after that.
I pulled him out and Joe chucked him in the snow. We buried him so that passers-by wouldn’t get the idea we were having luck and start digging holes in the ice around the shanty.
UPDATE: When we measured it, it was 28 inches. The lower limit is 24 inches. When they attack they open their mouth super wide, like a snake, so when they come up off the bottom they look HUGE.
It was a lot of fun, I highly recommend you try it sometime.