Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Plenty of ice-fish it safely

It seems Saginaw Bay has had it's share and perhaps a little more of accidents including fatalities this winter season.
Several anglers have gone through the ice on a body of water that absolutely has to be respected. The size of the Bay, depth of water and the ever changing winds make for a challenging place to fish; summer and winter.
If you are going out in a group, stay with that group. Drive out and back in single file, leaving room for the machine in front of you. Toward the end of the line, someone should be carrying a length of rope.
Remember pressure cracks may be safe to cross in the morning but come nightfall they could have moved enough to make for open water.
Carry safety equipment. Ice picks worn around the neck are most beneficial to gain purchase on the ice if you go through. Make your own with a couple of old screwdrivers. Drill a hole through the handles to accept a length of rope. Tie each end off past the handle and hang the rope around your neck. (Some people have even used ballpoint pens to get a grip on the ice!)
Consider taking a boat cushion with a long section of rope attached. This gives you a throwable device and allows the person in the water something to hang onto.
Always, especially on the Bay, keep an eye on the weather. Check it the night before fishing and the morning before you shove off. Keep an eye on conditions throughout the day and be alert for any sudden changes like a wind shift.
Be prepared to pull up your equipment and head for shore. But do so in a safe manner keeping in mind those pressure cracks that may have expanded.

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