It was a cold snowy morning on the frozen shores of Lake Superior. I unloaded all of my ice fishing supplies from my truck and back my ATV out of the trailer. The ice was at least a foot thick by this time of year according to the people in town more than safe enough for the trip out on the lake. Igassed up my ATV and strapped down all my gear and headed out to my shanty. Trying to navigate in these conditions is very treacherous having only a general idea on the whereabouts of my shanty is would be difficult. Finally, the weather cleared for a few minutes allowing me to spot my shanty that was luckily still standing.
I unlocked the door and fired up my ice drill which drilled through the ice like a hot knife through butter. I turned on my heater and waited for it to warm up which felt like an eternity in the frigid winter temperatures that hovered around zero and the biting wind outside made it almost unbearable. I waited for my father and his brothers to arrive with the food and propane stove. I heard the sound of an ATV and a few snowmobiles pulling up outside. I helped them gather their things and get them inside out of the cold.
“Nice setup you’ve got out here. ” My uncle said checking out the humble shack. Thanks. ” I said. “It must be nice showing up when it’s nice and warm and not freezing in here. ” “Well at least I brought food. ” My uncle replied pointing at the storage bin full of all kinds of snacks and frozen meat. “You’ll just be cold now and not hungry. ” Everyone got settled in we got our poles set up with the right weights and lures. That proved to be quite difficult due the fact that our fingers hadn’t fully thawed yet. We dropped our lines into the water and hoped for the best especially with the luck we’ve had the past few years in the same general area.
We fished for a while and didn’t get any bites so we added more weight to the lines so the bait would sink deeper and hopefully that would be where the fish were. We dropped our lines into the water and almost immediately my father had something on his line. He reeled in and the fish continued to fight. The fish came out of the water and flopped onto the ice above gasping for air. The monster he reeled in was a walleye no more than five inches long. “I didn’t know we were fishing for sharks. ” I said sarcastically.
“Hey, It’s more than anything you’ve caught. My father replied, removing the hook from the fish’s mouth and releasing it back into the water. “Not by a whole lot. ” I said. We continued to fish with little luck and decided it was time to take a break and cook up some food. I opened the container to see exactly was on the menu. There was a variety of chips and and pops and some steaks wrapped up and hard as a rock. My uncle lit the stove and laid out the thick cuts of meat and salt and peppered them. I stepped outside and the weather had cleared. The frozen lake was a desert of ice.
There was nothing to see but the land in the distance. The ice was a deep blue, with nothing but hundreds of feet of water beneath it. The smell of the food and the frigid temperatures brought me back inside. We filled our stomachs and relaxed for a while before we were to return to the task at hand, trying to catch anything that swims and has a pair of fins. I started fishing again and began to get some nibbles but nothing would seem to take the bait. I switched to a larger hook and not too much later i had something massive on my line.
I reeled in and the fish fought harder the more I tried to bring it closer to the surface. This was a fish that I was not going to lose. I could see a silver flashing below and this fish was huge, at least 6 feet in length. The fish leapt up at the hole, cracking the surrounding ice. My father and uncle escaped as I tried to avoid falling in. I tried to let go of the pole but it was stuck on my wrist. I fought desperately to free myself but the fish was still on the line. I reached for my knife in an attempt to free myself but it was too far away and the fish was too powerful.
I was pulled into the water. The frigid water temperatures sent my body into a state of shock as I continued to struggle. I was being pulled deeper and my lungs were burning. Finally I freed myself and began to rise to the surface. I looked up and saw the light, I was so close to reaching the surface. My lungs were giving everything they had left in them. I lept out towards the light desperately clinging to life. The light wasn’t the hole at all. There was ten inches of ice in between life and death. My body had no more fight left in it.
My limp and lifeless body began to sink into to the dark abyss with nothing left but my corpse to be found by divers later. I had been so close but yet it was all over. My uncle had left to get help and my father was doing everything he could to attract me to the hole I had fell through but it was all pointless. One of the things I enjoyed doing the most with some of the people I care about the most had taken my life. I was trapped and had no control over my fate waiting for my lungs to finally give out and when they did the fight was over and there was nothing in my power I could do to change that.