Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Most Famous Saying: You Should Have Been Here Yesterday

One of the most famous sayings in the sport of fishing is, "You should have been here yesterday!" This was what I heard today, November 19 at Padre Island National Seashore.
I drove to the North Beach, the one maintained for two-wheel drive cars. The reports from the day before were phenomenal: pompano are running. Some people were catching them by the dozens.
The pompano doesn't get much publicity because it's just not seen that often, but it's famous for one very good reason: it's a great delicacy. And it's a fun fish to catch, a hard fighter.
People I saw when I arrived told me they caught 18 yesterday, and it was so much fun they came back today. But after two hours they only had one fish.
I put on the bait that was so successful according to reports: shrimp with the artificial shrimp strips called Fishbites (hook size 1/0).
The bait just sat out in the surf. I reeled it in and cast it back out. No fish for the better part of an hour.
The day did turn out okay: I moved up the beach and found some other people who were catching fish. I caught two pompano, 13 inches and 14 inches long. And yes, they do taste sooooo good.
I just wish I was there yesterday.

Monday, October 13, 2008

After Ike on Padre Island

More than 100 miles from Galveston, one of the great fishing piers of the Texas coast, Bob Hall, was closed by Ike's high waters that carried dozens of its 1200-pound concrete slabs hundreds of yards down the beach, and ripped out some of pier railings. But we're told the pier will soon reopen.
It's clear the pelicans had no problem surviving the storm. They jammed the waters at the nearby Packery Channel jetties two weeks after Ike, many diving on schools of fish.
The jetties handle the fans of October fishing here who otherwise might have been seated somewhere along the 1240 feet of the pier. The early fall fishing has been excellent for speckled trout and, shown at Packery Channel in late September: redfish (the photo shows a limit, two people had three each), spanish mackerel, a warsaw grouper and, a little unusual this year, very abundant mangrove snapper.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fishing in Texas Two Days Before Hurricane Ike

Hurricane Ike is due here in less than two days. Today, Wednesday September 10, I went to the surf in Corpus Christi, Texas.
What a tremendous fishing day, for the few of us who went.
At daybreak I went to Packery Channel, the jetty-protected opening between the Gulf of Mexico and the upper Laguna Madre. I have never seen so many skipjacks (ladyfish) as I did at dawn. These tailwalking relatives of tarpon were so numerous I simply couldn't get my lures past them for the first hour of the day. When I went to the end of the jetty, the skipjacks I caught were much bigger. One that was at least two-feet long broke my line. Two are pictured.
However — the fishing was tremendous for those four people on the jetty, including me. I used a live mullet to catch a 27-inch redfish. The person next to me had the odd fortune of catching a redfish just a fraction over 28 inches. In Texas, you can keep three redfish a day between 20 and 28 inches, but if you keep a redfish OVER 28 inches, you have to take a tag off your saltwater license and attach it to the fish. You get just one tag with your license.
Another fish pictured is the snook, even more regulated in Texas. Only one allowed per day, and only if it's between 24 and 28 inches. This one went back. Other fish caught at Packery channel in the short time I was there: mangrove snapper, blacktip shark and flounder.
At 11 am I went to nearby Bob Hall Pier. The water was clear, the fish were biting better than I have seen all year. And there were only five people fishing, all together in the shallow water. In three hours they had caught a huge stringer of trout and spanish mackerel using live mullet, and like me earlier, they were constantly battling the super-aggressive skipjacks, so numerous they were a nuisance. Sad to say, the county parks department had to close the pier at noon to prepare for Ike.
We can just hope it'll still be there after this weekend.

An Almost All-purpose Saltwater Rig

There are as many different rigs to attach to your line as there are fish in the sea. Here's the one I use the most, and it's very common in fresh and saltwater.
There are three parts: the weight, the swivel, and the hook. The hook is at the end of what's called a "leader." It's stronger line than you have on your reel. Here, the line from the reel is 20-pound line, and the blue leader is 25-pound line.
The round weight just slides up and down the line and it's known as a barrel sinker, or an egg sinker. With this set-up, the brass swivel prevents the weight from sliding down to the hook, and when the fish bites, it can't feel the weight, as it would if it was the type of sinker that's tied on to the line.
Especially in saltwater, you may want to substitute a steel leader for the blue fishing line leader, because so many saltwater fish have sharp teeth that cut even heavy line.
You'll see many, many kinds of rigs, some with two hooks. Use whatever you like, or — whatever you see that's working where you are.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Saltwater Safety: My Big Three

Here are the three things that I see newcomers at the beach so often don't know about: teeth, catfish fins and jellyfish.
Everyone is probably aware of the power of sharks. Their jaws can crush a metal tackle box. But you do need to keep the fingers away from the teeth of many other saltwater fish. Bluefish have razors in their jaws, and mackerel (top photo) can suddenly lunge after they are landed, with their sharp rows of teeth.
Little sharks have very strong jaws and have to be handled with care, and even the benign speckled trout have teeth that will scratch up your fingers, possibly without you knowing until later on. They have one great big tooth you need to watch for. Just after this photo was taken, the trout clamped down hard on my thumb. Fortunately the glove was just thick enough!
I believe the biggest unknown danger on the saltwater fishing pier is the "hardhead" catfish. Its teeth are not much of a problem, but it has three fins that are sharp spikes. The BIG mistake is to put your shoe on top of a catfish to hold it down. I have seen the terrible result: that top fin is so strong and sharp that it goes right through shoes. To avoid having to handle these fish, ALWAYS have pliers handy.
Of course, stingrays can deliver a similar spike-like stinger with their tails, and most people are aware of that danger. Wearing shoes in the water is always a good idea.
Jellyfish: don't touch 'em. Whether they're in the water or washed up on the beach, some types have tentacles that will sting just like a hot matchhead if you touch them. Portuguese Man-O-Wars, by far the most lethal (they can actually kill people but that's very rare) are well known, but fortunately they have the bright rainbow-colored air sac that floats above to mark their presence. With most jellyfish stings, it's usually a matter of time, enduring a pain that can be severe. The treatment is meat tenderizer from the grocery store, but it's not always effective, and if you get stung, it's probably 30 to 60 minutes of waiting for the pain to go away. Afterward there may be little red spots where the tentacles made contact.
I almost always wear pants or waders in saltwater. They protect very well.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

There was a Tropical Storm?

They said there was a tropical storm named Edouard hitting the Texas coast this morning. At Padre Island National Seashore the surf was calm in the sunshine, but the water is still cloudy, less than two weeks after Hurricane Dolly. The beaches are back in shape after some spot repairs.
But on the other side of the island, the water in the Laguna Madre was clear at the Bird Island Boat Basin, and at the windsurfing park the trout were biting in three feet of water where I went wade fishing at sunrise. I used the white shrimp "Gulp" lure.
There are many who believe fish bite more when the barometer is falling. Today the barometer was in free fall, and the fish were biting.
At one of the piers ("Marker 37") along the Kennedy Causeway that leads to the island from Corpus Christi, the fish are supposed to bite mostly at night.
But at mid-day the trout were hitting on every cast. There was one slight problem — the speckled trout in Texas have to be 15 inches, and these were SO close. I measured one at 14 and 7/8 inch.
Also hitting were skipjacks, also called ladyfish. Related to tarpon, these are not fish to eat but are really fun tailwalkers and summersaulters. They usually get away by shaking the hook in mid-air.
I checked at the marina fish cleaning station, where they ask that all fish remains go into plastic tubs and not into the water. Also, people are requested not to feed the pelicans, one reason being pelicans cannot swallow fish that have been cut up.
There was proof that elsewhere, plenty of big — and VERY big — trout and redfish were biting today.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Fishing After Hurricane Dolly

An outing this morning shows me that apparently there are no worries in the aftermath of Dolly, at least at the northern tip of Padre Island after the hurricane stirred everything up a week ago.
At the Packery Channel jetty (the divider of Padre and Mustang Islands), no visible damage —but yes, if you look closely, that is a tree — not fishing rods — impaled into the rocks at the end of the jetty. The water in the surf never has cleared up as of Friday, but will anytime.

In the Laguna Madre the water is clear and the fish are there and biting.
These trout were caught on mid-day lures close to the Kennedy Causeway when I went wade fishing in three feet of water. I cast to the trout in slightly deeper water, maybe four or five feet deep. Most of the Laguna is 3 to 5 feet deep.

I use gloves whenever I reach into the mouths of speckled trout — good to have in your back pocket. (Wade fishing is fun but it takes practice. Use steel-toed boots and cover your legs in salt water to avoid jellyfish. Hip or chest waders are a very strong recommendation. And wade in sand — not mud!)
Also a hardy lizardfish hit the same lure, a "Gulp" on a lead-headed jig. Yes, lizardfish, and it does look like a lizard! (It went back into the water.)

Friday, July 25, 2008

Can You Fish in a Hurricane?

Can you fish in a hurricane? There's some lore about hurricanes stirring up the surf and putting fish in a feeding frenzy.
A visit to the Padre Island surf at Corpus Christi gave me the complete answer: No.
No, you can't fish in a hurricane. You can't cast your line into 50-mile an hour wind, you can't stand on the beach, if you could cast into the surf the water would whip your line in every direction. People did come to experience the power of a hurricane in between blinding rain squalls (and try to fly in the wind), although most beach roads, and certainly the pier, were closed.
At Packery Channel the jetties were barely visible from the highway, and the boat launch docks were nearly submerged.
In the Laguna Madre, the water was high at the piers lining the Kennedy Causeway (photo shows Clem's close to water level), and the wind made it scary to stand there since it was hard to avoid losing your balance.
I did notice these three hardy souls fishing at the closest-to-land-pier, the famous Red Dot, where they sloshed their way to the very end. And no — I asked and they had not caught any fish at all.
Maybe AFTER a hurricane, fishing will be good.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Night of the Whiting

The whiting is not a rare fish in the Gulf and Atlantic, but it's also one you don't often see in huge numbers. After sunset June 23, the whiting were present in huge numbers at Bob Hall Pier in the Gulf of Mexico in Corpus Christi, Texas.

The bait needed to be on the bottom, and the wait was often only a matter of seconds before these powerful fish struck, especially for the people using shrimp for bait. I was using a plastic imitation shrimp with a strong scent called "Gulp," in white. It worked very well, and since this tough plastic didn't come off when the fish nibbled, it was much easier to use.

I lost count of the fish that I caught (in the mid-Atlantic many people call them "kingfish.") Most were about one pound, and a two-pounder was a big fish. I didn't keep any, but they are good to eat, and many people lucky enough to be at Bob Hall this night took home enough whiting for a great meal.

By the way, these fish are known for being in very shallow water. This night they were all in two to three feet of water, very close to the shore. So yes — for people who know how to cast their lines a good distance, or for people who like to wade into the surf and fish (they do bite well in daytime), there's no need for a pier!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Fishing Pier in the Summer

There is nothing like the pier in the summer time, and seeing the beach, the boats, the surf, the birds and the fish.

If you have never tried salt water fishing, the sheer variety of fish you see always makes it fun. Above are photos from a visit on the first day of summer at the Horace Caldwell pier in Port Aransas, Texas. It's a standard fishing pier just like you'll find on any stretch of the U.S. coast, a couple hundred yards long with a T-shaped ending.

The first four fish pictured are prized speckled trout that were biting on live shrimp and on lures shaped like shrimp or minnows. But there were many other kinds caught, and pictured are a blue runner, a sand shark and a four-foot scalloped hammerhead shark.

The pier fishing experience is one of the nicest under the right conditions. On this day you'll notice the pier has the unusual luxury of plenty of open room with extra space for casting. Beginners might want to avoid fishing on crowded piers. Also, this pier, which has been here for decades, recently banned alcohol. That's had a good effect for the family experience. The crowds did arrive when the sun got lower on this weekend, and there were many friendly people having good times.

Fishing on a pier is very different from fishing in a freshwater lake, with very different equipment. That four pound line that's so effective at a lake just won't work on a saltwater pier. Here a three or four pound fish — possibly with sharp teeth — is likely to bite (and a three HUNDRED pound fish is not out of the question!). With a light freshwater outfit you probably wouldn't be able to pull a fish up through the air before the line broke, and in fact, you wouldn't even be likely to see the fish before feeling the snap of the line.

The stores that cater to tourists here offered acceptable saltwater fishing rod-and-reel combos at reasonable prices — $25 to $35. Some have large pushbutton reels with 14-to-20 pound line, and very heavy rods. If push button reels are the only type you can use, these will work fine, and you should be able to land up to a five - or possibly even a 10-pound fish. (You'll need help getting large fish up onto the pier. Friendly people will be glad to help, and you'll need to accept their hospitality. If you're really lucky, someone will have a "drop-net," a circular net that is dropped down to the water to bring the fish up.)

There's a lot you should know before trying saltwater fishing, including: which fish can hurt you (including jellyfish), which bait to use, how to put the bait on the hook, how to attach big hooks, big lead weights and steel "leaders" to your line — all subjects coming up here.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Do Fish Bite at Night?

Some of the best fishing happens at night. Lights on dark water attract small fish, and small fish attract big fish. Often the fish — and the fishing — gets concentrated in the tiny areas where bright lights shine beams into the water.
On June 14 I went to this pier in saltwater along the Kennedy Causeway in Corpus Christi, Texas, where the highway leads from the mainland to the famous Padre Island. The tactic here works exactly the same everywhere, on bays, rivers and lakes from coast to coast: the light shines into the water for an hour or so, the small fish gather, then the bigger fish move in.
Here my nephew and I paid just $2 each to fish on one of several lighted piers along the causeway. We used only small plastic imitation minnows with lead heads, cast through the bright beams in the water. There were bites on every cast, and we caught nine speckled trout (they call these fish "spotted weakfish" in the Northeast) in one hour, along with other non-game fish collectively known in this area as "perch" (none are really in the perch family but it's a word that's often used to refer to the various types of fish that are generally too small to keep). As you see, we sometimes caught two fish at a time when using two lures, and there were scary-looking ribbonfish, with their protruding large barracuda-like teeth.
In Texas you can keep 10 speckled trout per day, but they have to be between 15 and 25 inches long, and none of these were quite that big, so — no keepers, but a good time. (Here, if you catch any trout over 25 inches, you can only keep one per day. If that sounds strict, here are some other limits: any tarpon has to be 7 feet long to be kept, you can only keep one shark per day, and any blue marlin under 11 feet long is too small!)

Friday, May 9, 2008

Where Does this Path Go?

Sometimes a short adventurous hike can lead to a find.

Along the Potomac River in Williamsport, Maryland on May 8, I followed the advice of a local trout fisherman I had seen earlier in the day: go to Williamsport, find the C&O Canal, cross the aqueduct and follow the path to the river. Locals know the best spots, it's all a matter of luck as to whether they're really giving the scoop.

The spot was the mouth of Conococheague Creek. First cast, smallmouth bass, first of about 12 smallmouths. I also caught (l to r) bluegill sunfish, largemouth bass, pumpkinseed sunfish and a sucker, all on the same green soft plastic "grub." None were large, but it was fun. (Note the maple tree seeds, sometimes called helicopters. There were so many they did get in the way. A small lure got caught on the seeds less than a big lure.)

Hidden Trout Fishing: Devil's Backbone, Maryland

Here is one perfect place for a first try at a trout: Devil's Backbone Park, in Washington County, Maryland. It's a classic park next to the side of the road with trees, numerous picnic tables -- and a stocked trout stream open to the public. It's about two hundred yards of rushing trout water from the dam to the other end of the park where there's a scenic stone bridge (and below the bridge, as you see above, much more trout fishing with parking along Maryland Route 68 at various spots). This is Antietam Creek (yes, just a few miles upstream from the famous battlefield), and Beaver Creek is another very accessible trout stream in the neighborhood.
This is out of the way, as are many fishing places. Lappans Road doesn't really go from anywhere big to anywhere — so not many outsiders know about this park. Still, on a Thursday afternoon in May a half dozen people were fishing for trout here, so the weekends could get busy.
Don't be put off by the appearance of people fishing at lakes and rivers. Like most people getting out to go fishing, they wore jeans and t-shirts. The people here were all more than friendly, asking if I caught anything and sharing their trout fishing methods. The person who caught the rainbow above said he used a Berkley Powerbait, corn flavor. As always, these trout can be caught on a size six hook baited with a single kernel of canned corn.
The park is about five miles south of Hagerstown, Maryland on Lappans Road (Md. State Highway 68) between the two very small towns of Lappans and Millpoint.

Hidden Public Parks: Lake Chesdin Dam

If you look around, sometimes you'll be surprised at the places you find, nice and open to the public. This is along Highway 36 (River Road) south of Richmond on the Chesterfield County line.

Does the sign mention a park? No, not at all. And driving past manicured drinking water ponds surrounded by barbed wire fences, you definitely get the feeling, "I don't think I'm supposed to be in here!" No hint of the park at the very end of the road. The first Sunday of May, 2008, sunny and warm — and there were three cars in the parking lot, including mine. I fished for a while and caught three sunfish.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Burke Lake, Va: Fishing has started

It's May, and after a colder than average spring, the fish are finally out and about at Burke Lake (and probably all the other lakes in the mid-Atlantic). Today I caught these sunfish around 9 am on soft plastic lures on little lead-head jigs (1/16 of an ounce).
When I got to the pier, I noticed all the people were out in the deeper water, but I saw fish in the shallow water, two or three feet deep. It's clear enough to see to the bottom there. I caught one and got lots of bites just bouncing my lure straight down below the rod.
None of these other people caught any fish at all. I took a look, and they were using worms below a float, which is very good. But they were in 10 to 15 feet of water, with their bait only one foot below the surface, which is bad.
I suggested to one daddy on the pier to take his sad little boy to the shallow water. It worked. They were getting bites when I left, and if nothing else they had the excitement of watching fish come up and grab their bait. (They also could have probably caught fish in the deeper water if they dropped their bait down ten feet or so, but that's a lesson for another day.)
By the way, the fish that were so visible at 9 am in the clear shallow water were mostly gone by ten am, presumably to deeper water to escape the bright sunlight, so this is one place where it might be true that getting up a little earlier can make a difference.

Friday, April 25, 2008

In Case You Were Wondering...

The new National Harbor at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Washington, DC has three big piers (I count the marina above as one) in a prime fishing area along the Potomac River. But, surprise — the signs say "fishing is strictly prohibited."

Monday, April 7, 2008

Occoquan Shad and Thoughts About Closing a River

After fishing at Chain Bridge where no one was having any luck, I went to the Occoquan River late in the day April 6. The shad are arriving here, and I caught two shad and lost two, and took a picture of the one-pound hickory shad that hit on a little dark soft plastic minnow on a lead head ("Rattlesnake" brand).
Once a wide open fishing river, the Occoquan has almost no bank access anymore. Especially annoying is the sign at the tiny spot still open to the public just below the Occoquan Reservoir dam. The sign is aimed at the some of the lowest people on earth, fishermen who leave garbage on rivers and lakes. The sign says, "You must dispose of your trash in the trash cans provided. Otherwise the town will be forced to enact a no fishing law."
Let's see — I saw some trash by the roads, so let's just close the roads. I saw trash at the baseball fields — let's outlaw baseball.
I hope this sign is meant only as a scare tactic, and I think it's working. There's very little trash when I visit, and certainly any cleanup crew, or cleanup person, could take care of it in 15 minutes, once a week. But the very idea of being "forced to enact a no-fishing law," again, is annoying.
Some small number of people who fish are litter bugs. Most are not. Town of Occoquan, you have trash to pick up everywhere, including the river. "Oh, life is so unfair, these people come from far away and litter our tiny public spot on the water." Let's have equal protection. Only if Occoquan can guarantee that none of its citizens will litter anywhere they go — where another town has to clean up after them — should they be free to close the historic Occoquan to fishing.
[I would think one source of cleanup funds would be from the taxes from those new enormous condos that block the last open view of the river in the historic section of town.]
I'll note that Occoquan Regional Park does offer very extensive bank access to a wide and scenic stretch of the river. It's downstream from the rocky narrow fishing haven near the historic riverfront. The park gate is along Hwy 123 uphill from the river near Lorton.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Accotink Trout — Just Stocked!

The trout truck arrived Friday and the fish and fishermen were there Saturday. Fisherman Bill Boatman picked up five rainbows on Saturday using a Berkley Trout Worm. It's a little white scented plastic worm that's just a little bigger than a piece of overcooked spaghetti.
Fishing is $10 for adults, who also must have a regular Va. freshwater license, no trout license required here as it is at some other urban fishing sites. This is probably the last stocking as this year's program ends April 20.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Shad returning at Occoquan River

Shad are starting to show up in the mid-Atlantic, including the Potomac River and its tributaries. One of the many traditional spots to catch shad in April is the Occoquan River just below the dam at the town of Occoquan. The shad in the photo was caught in the morning of Friday, April 4. The action wasn't fast. No more were caught by any of the five people fishing here for another 15 minutes. Within just a few more days the shad will probably be much more numerous here and in the other creeks with open access to the tidal rivers (the ones with no dams blocking the migration) --and the fishermen will be more numerous, too.
The two game species, American or white shad and hickory shad, were once so numerous there were no limits, but those days are long gone. In Maryland the season is colsed and possession is illegal. Virginia has a hodgepodge of rules, as do many states, so it's best to just release your catch after enjoying the fight unless you're sure you're in a place where you can keep them.
Va rules:

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Burke Lake, VA in March

Burke Lake in Fairfax County is always nice to visit on a sunny day, even in March when the temperature is 49 degrees and there's a breeze, as it was on March 29, 2008. However, leave the fishing to the experts in their boats. The water is still too chilly for much action from the shore, or the pier, where these fellows had no fish. But the park facilities open in one more week, the first Saturday in April. If it's warm it might be a good day to rent a boat — and try to catch a fish or two.

Accotink Trout in April

Accotink Creek at Lake Accotink, near Springfield, VA is another place to fish for winter trout. The Fairfax County program differs from the state urban trout programs. Here you have to have a state fishing license and a one-day pass from the lake marina and it costs $10, $9 for kids over 10. For that money, you would expect to have some very dependable fishing. All reports indicate it's not especially dependable fishing. It's nice to visit, but the best fishing is the day the fish are put in the creek and, especially at the dam, the day after, when many fish have adjusted to the new waters and are ready to strike. The stockings are every two weeks on Fridays. The next is set April 4, 2008, and it's possible this will be the season finale. This is a 20-year tradition here, and there's a crowd waiting every time, and they actually help with a bucket brigade, releasing the buckets of trout. Unlike other urban fishing lakes, here the fish seem to be mostly caught within three days of stocking, although you do have a chance of catching a trout on any day. One possibility you rarely find anywhere: fishing with corn, you could catch either trout or carp.
The lake itself has the standard species (no trout), but has silted so much since the dam was built in 1943, it appears most of it is about two feet deep or less. A three year dredging program is in its final year with a goal of removing 161,000 cubic yards of silt, but much of the lake still looks very shallow. It's still a good lake for small bluegills and sunfish, with occasional bass and catfish, and plentiful carp.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Still Chilly -- Perch Weather

Still chilly most places in late March, and the fish haven't started biting much. You could go fishing for perch this early, the spawning runs are on -- yellow perch first, then white perch a little later. The most famous place for March yellow perch in the mid-Atlantic is called Allens Fresh, along highway 234 in St.Mary's/Charles Counties in Maryland. Many people fish from the side of the road (check your safety rules). March 22: a fellow with two small boys had two yellow perch in ten minutes fishing with worms and floats at this bridge. White perch will be there by early April, and also at many places on the Potomac. Fletcher's Boat House at Washington's Key Bridge is one of the most famous places for white perch and shad.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

It's like they stocked it yesterday!

Yes, that's snow on the ground and a mid-day temperature of 28, but the ice was gone and there were seven people fishing Alexandria's Lake Cook on a Thursday. This was Feb 21, 2008 and the trout were restocked on schedule Feb 20.
One fellow had these four trout — the four he had kept of the 15 he caught in two hours, all close to 12 inches. Surprisingly, he was not using Powerbait. He was using a small Panther Martin spinner. Another person saw the spinner's success and started using his own but had only caught three. "He's really good!" he said of the fellow with the stringer, who had just left. "He showed me a lot."
So there is something to know about catching hatchery trout.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Can't fish today!

This was completely unexpected today. Lake Cook, the lake that's stocked with winter-only trout in Alexandria, Virginia — frozen solid. I mean so solid, those big rocks out on the lake just bounced around rather than making holes in the ice.