Ice fishing has become the next big winter sport this year



Ice-fishing is a great social-distancing sport that you can participate in this winter.

Justin Dobski, Staff Writer

After cutting holes into the ice, you bait the tip-ups with a shiner and send the bait into the icy water below. As you wait patiently, a breeze sends snow from nearby trees onto the frozen pond. When the tip-up flag raises, you race to the hole and reel in the fish you have caught, this is ice-fishing. Ice fishing is a safe, affordable sport to participate in outside and promotes social distancing.

Westford Academy had a fishing club running a year and a half ago. It was formed by a group of students who were all interested in fishing. They were aware of some high schools in New Hampshire and Massachusetts that had fishing teams and wanted to socialize with other fishers at school, so they formed a fishing club of their own, with Dan Twomey. On one outing in the winter, they went to Forge Pond, and the club was taught the process of ice fishing and safety precautions.

“During the trip, we mostly taught the kids how to cut the hole properly and safely,” club advisor Dan Twomey said. “We talked about the equipment you should bring, and other safety precautions that you should take when ice fishing.”

When ice fishing, a fisher uses a power auger, hand auger, or hand tool to cut holes into the ice, and use tip-ups, instead of a fishing pole. They then bait the hook on the tip-up with a live shiner or another type of bait and let it swim. When a fish takes the bait a flag on the tip-up will raise and the fisher would check to see if they caught anything. When ice fishing a fisher should bring a small ice-pick and some rope. If the ice is too thin and they fall into the water, they can get out easily, using the ice-pick.

“Ice fishing is a little bit different than rod or reel-type fishing,” Twomey said. “It’s more of a passive type of fishing.”

Ice fishing is the practice of catching fish through a hole in the ice. Ice fishing can be considered easier than regular fishing because a fish’s metabolism slows down in cold temperatures, so their reaction time, when caught, will be slower. However, ice fishing does require a lot of patience.

“Fishing is a great, affordable, outdoor activity,” Twomey said. “If kids are looking for things to do these days, I would definitely recommend it.”