Thursday, January 8, 2009

Buddhist Fish Offering

Walleye in a Bucket, originally uploaded by Gamut's Edge.

I talked to my dad on the phone yesterday. He said an eagle ate the remains of the Walleye that we left on the ice.

OK, the story is actually more complicated than that. We didn't leave the Walleye on the ice. We put the head skeleton and tail in a grill that was next to an ice shanty across the lake. The fillets are safe in my dads freezer. Why would we leave a fish carcass in our neighbors grill? First of all, it was my dad's idea. I was just along to verify the story.

The people across the lake run a mechanized ice fishing outfit. They set up twenty tip-ups with the aid of a snowmobile and motorized ice auger. Then, once they are set up they do their fishing from the comfort of a heated ice shanty and they cook brats outside on their grill. It's all peachy for them. My dad does his fishing in the open air with the cold north wind howling. He drills his own holes with an ancient man-powered ice auger. And, he only puts out his legal limit of three tip ups.

If you caught the biggest Walleye in the lake would you tell your competitors across the lake about it, or would you sneak across the dark-frozen lake in the middle of the night and leave the remains of the trophy walleye in their grill? Imagine their surprise the next afternoon when they went to cook up some Johnsonville Brats and watch the Green Bay Packers in their heated shanty. The leader of their outfit opens the grill and takes a step back in horror at the first site of the frozen carcass in his grill. After a few seconds his reeling mind begins to comprehend that he has been outfished and outsmarted. He looks around for tracks in the snow. Where did these people come from? But, we were too smart for that. We walked confusing circles around the ice shanty and ended or mission backtracking down a packed snowmobile trail. There are no tracks to follow.

In the end the bald eagle got to eat the fish remains. The guys with the shanty left the fish on the ice and the hungry eagle found it a couple hours later. My dad said the eagle carried the fish into the tree above our cabin and ate it.

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