Desperate to Go Fishing: Busting Ice at the Marina
When the marina or boat ramp is frozen solid, that does not mean you have to stay trapped on shore. If you are as desperate to go fishing as Lenny Rudow, use his technique to bust through the ice without damaging your boat.
Sub-freezing cold may have the marina locked up in ice, but dedicated anglers will still feel the urge to go fishing, and even if the fish are frozen stiff, a day of recreational oyster tonging or some simple cold-weather cruising can cure your cabin fever. But busting out of the slip or boat ramp can damage your boat’s fiberglass. For all you winter boaters with a mission, this ice-breaking tactic will get you out on the water, without doing any harm.
1. Using a spud, gaff handle, or mop, perforate the ice around your boat. Then apply pressure until you can break off chunks, freeing the hull. Note – if you’re launching at a ramp back down slowly and break holes for your trailer lights. If you merely back the trailer onto the ice and let it break through from its own weight, there’s a good chance you’ll shatter the lights or rip off some wiring.
2. Continue busting ice manually until you get about 20 feet of open water in front of your boat; this is the hard part, and depending on how thick the ice is, it could take a while.
3. Back the boat as close as possible to the edge of the ice you need to bust, and tilt your drive up until the prop is just a few inches below the water. Then shift into forward and briefly apply a hefty dose of power. Immediately shift back into reverse, to stop your forward motion. The prop-wash will blast open the ice immediately behind the boat, and create waves that help break up surrounding ice.
4. Repeat the process until you’ve blown out a path to open waters.
5. Now, let’s go catch some fish!
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- Lenny Rudow is Senior Editor for Dominion Marine Media, including Boats.com and Yachtworld.com. With over two decades of experience in marine journalism, he has contributed to publications including Boating Magazine, Marlin Magazine, Boating World, Saltwater Sportsman, Texas Fish & Game, and many others. Lenny is a graduate of the Westlawn School of Yacht Design who has won 28 BWI and OWAA writing awards.
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Tags: breaking ice, desperate to go fishing, ice breaking, Lenny Rudow, winter boating