The mushroom cloud goes up all over the globe in November. It’s TEOTWAWKI, Jericho style. Lousy time of year to have it happen. Grocery stores were quickly emptied and never re-filled. You neared the end of your limited food stores after Christmas, and now what? The rivers and lakes are frozen. You can’t grow veggies, and stray cats are becoming a scarce food source. You’re hungry . . . .
Ever try smelting?
Ayuh, for many people in Maine this is an annual tradition. It’s the dead of winter, days are short, and everyone’s suffering from a mad bought of cabin fever. So rednecks (myself included) rent ice shacks on rivers to go smelting. These shacks typically have a plywood floor, lighting, small woodstove, and openings in the ice for fishing lines. All of the reels are mounted right to the wall, you don’t have to hold a pole, you just gotta hold that frrrrrrrrosty cold beverage! Which is good, because the heat from the woodstove is enough to blow you over. You need lots of frrrrrrrosty cold beverages!
Yeah, if it’s TEOTWAWKI you’ll be doing it with some makeshift tarp shelter, and you won’t have beer, but hey. Whatever. You bait a few small hooks, drop it in the hole, and wait.
No, it’s not rocket science, but it works . . . so long as you catch the smelt on a run. On the latest trip with my SHTF homies, we caught around a dozen of these little fishies. That wasn’t a very good outing, but sometimes you don’t get any. Other times you’ll leave with buckets full. We baited the hooks with the very aggressive, like-to-bite, lop their heads off fast – BLOOD worms. These things are naaaaasty! Check it:
The freaking worm’s chompers come right out of its head – Alien style. Here are the party shacks:
The New York Times recently ran an article on smelt fishing in Maine, and one dude described ice shack construction as such:
“Maine is especially about the art of making do, maximal ingenuity deployed against minimal opportunity,” he said. “The materials of its construction and furnishing are recycled, scavenged and cobbled together with an almost ostentatious scorn of ostentation; nothing is unnecessary and nothing is superfluous.”
Here is one of the smelts we caught:
No, they’re not huge, and you’d need several to make a meal, but like I said, sometimes you’ll leave with buckets full. Also, they make great bait for larger fish – OR . . . . you can use them to bait cats.
– Ranger Man