I’m from California so I never in a million years thought I would find myself facing this fear: struggling while trapped under a thick sheet of ice and dying. Is this a totally unfounded fear? Yes, absolutely unfounded but it’s also a real one. The thought of having to walk on ice makes me instantly anxious, my face becomes red with embarrassment, and I pit out causing my shirt to become drenched in sweat. After moving to Michigan 2.5 years ago and receiving multiple invites to go ice fishing to have a great Michigan winter experience, my answer was always a simple “Oh, hell no! NOPE!”
The amazing Melissa Werkman and I started talks of Moxie Wild awhile back, and I just KNEW this was something I’d have to eventually do. I would have to channel my own Moxie and prove to myself that I can get over the fear of falling through ice, being bogged down by my wet freezing clothes, and then die while people above the ice watched (and hopefully, tried to save me). Just the thought of it right now makes my palms sweat and my stomach clench up.
Melissa’s husband and son run a fishing guide business Werkman Outfitters, so I knew I was in nothing but the best hands. After multiple pep talks and reaffirming that “We’ll only go out if it’s safe”… a date was set and Ice Fishing was in The Books. We headed out to Muskegon Lake on a beautiful Michigan February day – it was a balmy 45ish degrees out! Safe? Yes, to my dismay it was deemed safe. Dang it! I knew I had to channel that inner Moxie. “Let’s go! I got this!” I repeated.
Walking onto the lake in Sperry boots with yak-traks on, my arms extended outward like I was a bird and with heart pounding out onto that ice I went!! “I’m doing this dammit!” was my mantra. After the initial few steps, Melissa’s husband showing me how safe the ice was (it was 6-7 inches thick), and seeing literally 50 plus people out on the ice, I then realized I was going to be OK. I got this! Holes were drilled with the auger (I learned a new word and even got to drill my own fishing hole), I baited my pole, sat down in a lovely camp chair that was low to the ice and made me feel warm and safe inside. I was comforted by my thinking that at least my weight was spread out in case the ice cracked. BOOM… I was ice fishing!! After the 1st hour my nerves calmed and we enjoyed chili, beers, and catching the world’s smallest perch and bluegill. What I didn’t realize at the time was that we didn’t go far enough out to catch big fish – due to my fear, Tom (Melissa’s husband), set us up in the shallows to ease my nerves. Thank you, Tom! -But next time I want to catch a big fish!
Ice fishing was a blast… I am pumped to go again!! I’d even like to go when it’s colder out and sit in a tiny cramped shanty to get the full effect. Channeling that inner Moxie and getting over this unfounded fear is a serious sense of accomplishment. I’m feeling pretty pumped right now and thankful for having a supportive crew to assist me in bringing my Moxie to world of ice fishing!
#moxiewild #bringyourmoxie #letsgomoxie #letsgo