Page 8 - WCM 2023 Winter Flip
P. 8

In Pursuit of the “Real Truth” story and photos by Ron Fournier
 “Sharing the fun of fishing turns strangers into friends in a few hours.”
~ Eugenie Clark
As I peeked out the window across the lake, a random snow devil faded into clear blue sky, just as quickly as it had appeared. A quick scan against the bright white, and there it was ... that small 3-inch square of orange flagging that can signal only one thing ... FLAG UP! I hastily zipped my jacket, nearly spilling my cocoa, and then it was game-on. At a full sprint, I seemed to forget that I was trudging through heavy snow in overweight boots. The crunch of the icy snow under my feet matched the cadence of my rapidly increasing heart rate, and as I approached, my pace slowed as if I was sneaking up on this simple and seemingly unaware device. I set the bait bucket down, glanced down the hole, and quickly noticed the small aluminum reel spinning like a top. FISH ON!
I dropped to my knees and gently lifted the tip-up from the hole, careful not to disturb the unspooling line. As it slid through my fingers, I grabbed the line and gave a good tug to set the hook, and from that moment, it was a game of hand-lining with a steady retrieval. Depending on the fish, this could be a simple process, or a longer game of give and take. In these moments, my mind whirs, imagining just what type of fish has found the bait, which is typically
a smelt or shiner. Is this the prized eastern brook trout that has made Maine so famous? Or maybe a landlocked salmon? Perhaps a hungry bass or perch? I hope it’s not another pickerel - those toothy buggers always seem to be the first to the dinner table, eating most of my bait!
All of a sudden the monofilament leader and swivel appeared, and I knew the fish was just below the ice ... and then it dove again! This time it felt even bigger than I first thought, and another game of give and take ensued. As the
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