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Dangers Involved in Ice Fishing

Kulbhushaan Raghuvanshi

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Ice fishing is a popular activity around the world, but there are certain safety measures which should be implemented before enjoying it. Given further is some information about the dangers in ice fishing and tips to practice this sport safely.

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Ice fishing is a popular winter time activity, especially in North America. Similar to fishing, it involves catching fish with fish hooks and spears by making a hole in the ice on a frozen water body.
It was a family activity, but now commercial competitions are held every year and are attended by thousands of budding anglers (fishermen). This winter pastime is entertaining, even the best anglers are required to take various precautionary measures before going for ice fishing. The following information will help readers about the dangers in ice fishing.

Ice Fishing Dangers

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Ice fishing is really not that simple and easy as shown on television. There are various dangers which anglers should be well aware of before they sit for a good catch. Here are some examples.
✦ Safety on the ice should be the first concern of any fisherman going for ice fishing. If the ice is too thin or transparent, there is a high chance that the angler and his/her vehicle will fall into the frigid water.
✦ The thickness of the ice varies from region to region. Hence, it is recommended to carry a spud or chisel to check its thickness before fishing. The frozen surface should be at least 6 inches thick to support an average person and at least 9 to 10 inches thick to drive a car.
✦ Never step on ice that has started melting from the shore. Melting ice is very fragile and incapable of supporting any weight.

✦ Never step on small ice areas in an open lake. The waves from the lake can easily break the ice in small areas.
✦ People who participate in ice fishing competitions should make sure that they don't dig holes very near a competitor. This can weaken the thickness of the ice which may eventually collapse and put both competitors in danger.
✦ Never go ice fishing on a day when strong wind currents are blowing, as these are instrumental in melting ice.

✦ Anglers should never drink alcohol while ice fishing. Consuming liquor impairs one's judgment and can result in mishaps during this activity.

Safety Tips for Ice Fishing

Now that readers are aware of the dangers of ice fishing, there are various steps that can be taken to minimize the same. Yes, ice fishing is a scary activity but the possibility of an accident can be minimized if anglers follow some safety regulations.
✦ Always have a companion for ice fishing; this is called the Buddy System. This system ensures that there will be someone with the angler in case of an accident.
✦ Wear warm jackets in layers and never forget to wear a PFD (Personal Flotation Device) underneath the coats. In case the ice breaks and you fall in the water, remember to keep your head and shoulders above the water. The chilling water shocks the body and the person experiences difficulty in breathing. In such instances a PFD comes in very handy.
✦ Drastic change in weather is common in cold places. It is essential to keep oneself updated with the latest weather news to avoid any unpleasant situation.

✦ Anglers are advised to wear ice creepers (shoes with spikes) to avoid falls and injuries. These provide better traction and save people from slipping, a broken arm, a sprained ankle or a concussion.
✦ Always inform a family member or a friend about your exact location. Inform them which route you will take and to which lake you have gone for fishing. This ensures that someone knows about your exact location and if you don't return in time, they would know where to look.
Being aware of the different dangers and following basic safety tips are enough to keep the anglers safe and make ice fishing a fun experience. To make ice fishing safer, people can go to various ice fishing resorts which provide all the necessary fishing equipment and also take care of your safety.