They are fishermen and they walk on water. A journey into the world of icefishing

“Jesus walked on water once, I do it every winter” this is a quote you can find on iceshanty, a popular blog about icefishing.

I found this quote incredibly funny and intriguing the first time, it was sent into a whatsapp group that I was added into by my friend Martino. The name of the group was ‘Better served on ice’ and inside the group there were a bunch of stranger to me, people were planning in buying short fishing rods for jigging, a tent, gas heater, spikes for ice, boots: they were talking about sleds, beers, coffe with grappa, salame, ice thickness and baits.

It was pretty confusing at first, but I’m a curious person by nature so at the question who’s in, my answer was like I’m in. Once you say you are in, you are in, and when ‘The Captain’ is Ben, he’s gonna reach out to you.

Ben sends you an incredibly detailed list of things you must have, every single item that is listed is followed by a link with the best deal available for that item: you can get your ice fishing survival kit with less then 200$. I’ve got mine and I showed up at the 4.00 am meeting in Brooklyn and my introduction to ice fishing started.

First you get to the lake, it’s cold, its really cold. Second you try to understand if the bulletin said the truth and the ice if thick enough: I’m sure there are professional ways to secure this step but usually a big rock trowed on the lake should certify the thickness. Third step: trust you step on it, take few steps and drink a hole to verify how big is the ice layer.

Fourth: once you are ready to move you load your sled with everything you might need for the day and you start walking on the frozen water.

Each lake has it’s type of fishes and each fish decided to live and hunt at different levels of deepness, the fisherman does is best to try establish those criterias and chose a spot that in his opinion is gonna be the most successful one.

So you set camp, drill holes, you set up the tip up (traps that once the fish bites the baits are gonna raise a flag), you set your fishing rods and you wait. When I asked into this group: ‘Hey guy’s why do we keep going ice fishing?’ (this is our third year), the answer was some fish, a lot of beers and caffé corretto.

Ice fishing became one of the yearly appoinment that right now we all wait, and this project is documenting our progress and our days into this new sport.


Paolo Testa

IG @paolo.testa