Tanago On Ice

by Herb S.

Sitting on the ice today fishing straight down with a short pole reminded me of the descriptions of tanago fishing, sitting on a bank fishing straight down with a short rod. Ice fishing is something I've enjoyed for decades, and the simplicity of a short pole with line winders instead of a reel is a big part of it. Unfortunately a fixed line rod wouldn't be practical due to the necessity of having to frequently lengthen or shorten the depth of the bait as you move around cutting new holes to find the fish. But a pole is still a simple as it gets, even with winders. To bring in the fish there is a technique of reaching out and alternately grabbing the line and then hooking the 2# line with the rod tip. Often I just hand line the fish in.

For some time small spinning rods (also sold in Florida as kids outfits!) have taken over and it's hard to find old fashioned poles with line winders, but they're easy to make. I long resisted the "modern" trend of using a spinning reel, but finally broke down and bought a couple. I seldom use 'em, though, unless fishing very deep.

Upon reflection I think the simple joy of ice fishing for panfish, as well as years of fly fishing, made tenkara, keiryu and seiryu so attractive. And now I'm torn between hoping for good ice and longing for open water wading with fixed line rods.

"Simplify, simplify." -- H.D. Thoreau

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