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One-track mind about fishing

The sun popped out from behind a cloud the other day and its warmth felt so good on my shoulder that I almost burst out in song.

In deference to my neighbors I held back on my bursting because despite the fortune my parents spent on my musical training my singing resembles a chorus of crows singing backup to a bullfrog with laryngitis.

I decided to leave the musical tribute to the birds although that blue jay in the sumac bush is no Frank Sinatra.

If I could sing I would choose “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah” from Walt Disney’s Song of the South movie. It just seemed appropriate for how happy the sun’s rays made me feel.

Of course I could have chosen many other songs, but somehow remembering Uncle Remus singing along with chirping birds and flittering butterflies just seemed right as a harbinger to the coming spring.

I felt so good about the warm sunshine that even the frozen lake seemed a signal that good times were coming. There were even a couple stretches of open water so I did go down to the dock to check for any sign of melting.

To test the ice I jabbed a heavy stick into it and it barely made a mark. Next I used the stick to whack the ice and it never moved.

Finally I used the stick to give the ice a good spanking and the only result was a broken stick. My unscientific conclusion is that the ice will melt when it is ready, and it will take a lot more sunshine before that happens. You see, we live in the real world and not some Disney fantasy.

Checking the ice made me think about all of the life now living below the frozen surface. There are certainly fish down there that will hopefully survive the winter. If they don’t it will be a sad spring for this addicted angler.

My mother once accused me of thinking only of hunting and fishing. When I told this to a family friend he said, “The next time she says that ask her: you mean there’s more?” I learned a lesson that day and it was to never make fun of my mom.

I am not the only angler who is wishing for open water. In fact many have already been fishing through a hole in the ice. All I can say to ice anglers is to have fun and be very careful.

Every year we lose anglers or walkers through the ice and that is tragic.

I once walked out on East Palestine City Lake to photograph a full moon. It was at 11 p.m., and I was all alone. If I had fallen through the ice my body would not have been discovered until morning or spring. I was being stupid, but I survived. Please, dear reader, be smarter than me. Have fun, but don’t take chances.

Boating can also be an increased danger time, as even after the ice is gone, the water temperature is well below your core temperature. Definitely wear a personal flotation devise (PFD).

The PFD will help keep you afloat until help arrives, but it will not totally protect you from hypothermia. You need to get out of the water and warmed up right away. What you really need is the attention of a trained EMT and that is a good reason to carry a working cell phone. I recommend it.

As I look out at our cove while writing this I can see open water near my dock and there is a big heron standing there; probably hoping for his dinner to swim by. Yesterday Barb and I paused in our walk to watch an eagle swoop down to a patch of open water and snag a fish.

I thought it was probably an osprey, but when he flew over us it was easy to see it was an eagle. It was wonderful to see our national emblem up close and that heron on the dock was the biggest I’ve ever seen so the sun’s warmth made my day.

Anyone care to join me in singing “Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah?”

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