Exit to the first ice, how not to drown?

Every year, on the eve of the formation of ice, many fishermen look forward to this joyful moment when they can take the first step on thin ice, make their first hole in the new winter season. But sometimes this impatience can become fatal, and the first hole will be the last, if you do not realize that going to the first ice is a very responsible, and to some extent risky event that requires certain knowledge, experience and preparation.

The generally accepted definition of a safe ice thickness is considered to be a thickness of 10 centimeters. But many fishermen, especially those weighing much less than a centner, are in a hurry to get out onto thinner ice, the thickness of which has barely reached 4-5 centimeters. In principle, ice of this thickness will hold a relatively light person, but this is provided that the ice is solid, and the outside temperature is below zero. But this does not mean that everyone should climb headlong on thin ice. And I am not at all agitating the bulk of fishermen to do this, rather, on the contrary, it is better to wait a couple of days and wait for thicker and safer ice.
However, in recent years, due to climate change, winters are getting shorter, and the length of the winter season is melting every year even faster than the Arctic ice. That is why desperate fans of ice fishing climb onto the very first ice in order to somehow catch the moment and do what they love. That is why I want to remind you that if you have already got out on the first ice, then you should approach this process responsibly, not neglect the safety rules, common sense and the ability to somehow secure your presence there.

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I myself am the same desperate penguin, in a hurry to get out on the very first ice. But I try to approach this process responsibly and thoroughly beforehand. Accordingly, over the years of fishing, I have developed for myself the basic rules and points that must be fulfilled before the very cherished, first hole is made.
The first thing, and I believe that this moment is the main one in preparation, is preliminary exploration of the reservoir. It is clear that the first are small shallow water bodies, all kinds of peat bogs, ponds with stagnant water, small forest lakes sheltered from the wind. But the ice on them does not always become evenly and equally. It depends on various reasons, and first of all on the strength and direction of the wind during the formation of ice, on the ruggedness of the coastline and the presence of underwater and emergent vegetation.

Tips for beginners: Getting on the first ice, how not to drown?

In recent seasons, frosts cannot hit properly so that the ice quickly and confidently becomes. At night it will freeze, then during the day again around zero. The reservoir will tighten, somewhere in the lulls 2-3 centimeters will freeze, and somewhere the wind will break the ice and drive it to the shore. These are all the nuances I try to notice and carefully observe the reservoir on the eve of a trip to it. If you see this whole process from the very beginning, then going to the first ice can be made as safe as possible. But this does not mean that if we went out on the ice, then we can relax and have fun. On the contrary.

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Tips for beginners: Getting on the first ice, how not to drown?

Moving on the first ice is a very risky undertaking and requires a responsible attitude. The first and most important rule is – not a step without a foot !!! In the literal sense of the word. Not a step !!! With its help, you can secure your movement as much as possible. Walking will prompt you in time where to go and where not, and will warn you in time about the thickness of the ice. Secondly, in no case go on the first ice alone. You should only go fishing with an experienced winter road fisherman, who adequately understands the full responsibility of this event and has the same experience in fishing on the first ice. Thirdly, you must have certain equipment with you. Clothing should be as light as possible, as should your winter crate gear. On the first ice, I prefer to move using a fishing sled, where you can put all the necessary equipment and thereby unload yourself. Thus, you only have an ice pick and a sled rope in your hands. There is a lifeguard on the neck. You can put them in your pockets, not the essence. The main thing is that they are right at hand and easily accessible, in which case, and not lie somewhere deep in a box … In a sled, everyone should have a coil of rope, at least 15-20 meters long. The presence of a lifejacket on fishing is a controversial point for me, so I can’t give any definite advice here. It is also necessary to have a spare set of clothes and shoes in the car. Just in case you suddenly fell through when going out on the ice.

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Tips for beginners: Getting on the first ice, how not to drown?

Never try to go out on the ice in the dark. No flashlight will help you to soberly assess the situation on the reservoir and determine the ice situation. Especially if you got out into the reservoir without preliminary exploration. And finally, about a sober view of things. Don’t drink on ice. Of course, I understand that the first ice is a holiday and all the things … But it is precisely such stupid and “fearless” bukhariks who are most often then taken out of the ice hole.
In general, if we once again summarize all of the above, then in no case am I agitating you to go out on the very first ice. But, if you have already got out on it, then try to approach this process with a sober head and protect yourself as much as possible so that the first ice does not become the last. Take care of yourself and everyone, no tail, no scales.