Performance-enhanced ice-fishing? Don’t be a dopeSAM COOK: Now comes word, from no less than the New York Times, that drug-testing has come to ice-fishing Let’s idle our jigging rods just long enough to ponder a few things. Mainly, how in the world could performance-enhancing drugs improve your ice fishing? More animated jigging action? Better control of your power auger?
By: Sam Cook, Duluth News Tribune
Now comes word, from no less than the New York Times, that drug-testing has come to ice-fishing.
As we have to say now, in this world of urban legend and satirical stories from the Onion, I’m not making this up.
In a Feb. 24 story in the Times, reporter James Card described how several winners at the recent World Ice Fishing Championship near Wausau, Wis., were whisked away after the competition for drug-testing. According to the Times story, “an official from the United States Anti-Doping Agency ordered them to provide urine samples for a surprise test to detect steroids and growth hormones …”
Apparently, officials did not test for Leinenkugel’s. Just as well.
All of this is happening because some in the sport of ice fishing are hoping to take their competition to the Winter Olympics.
OK. Let’s idle our jigging rods just long enough to ponder a few things. Mainly, how in the world could performance-enhancing drugs improve your ice fishing? Quicker hook-sets? More animated jigging action? Better control of your power auger? Faster slush removal from your fishing hole?
If you rub the same cream on your thighs that some major league home-run hitters did, knowingly or unknowingly, are you less likely to avoid the pitfalls that most of us amateur ice anglers have encountered? Would you, for instance, be less likely to drop a pair of needle-nose pliers down the hole? Would you be less likely to sever your fishing line by accidentally holding it too close to your heater? Those are the kind of performance issues most of us have to deal with. Can doping cure general awkwardness and stupidity?
And where would we get our dope? The bait shop, I presume.
“He went in the back room for a minute.”
“I thought he already got the minnows.”
“He did. He said it was about something else.”
It doesn’t take much imagination to visualize Gene, the bait shop proprietor, back there between the bubbling minnow tanks and freezers full of ciscoes, getting ready to poke a long syringe through Don’s Carhartt bibs and into the ample flesh of his rear end. That’s how it starts. And out front, Don’s buddies look the other way, ask no questions.
Lance, tell us it isn’t true.
It isn’t as if most ice anglers are seeking enhanced physical performance. Let’s face it. Most of us drive pickups or snowmobiles across the ice to our fishing destinations. We waddle around in oversized clothing while we penetrate the ice with power augers. We erect little houses and light our heaters. We don’t want six-packs in our abdominal region, thanks. Just outside the shelter will be fine. Lifting 10-inch crappies and 8-inch perch from our holes is not particularly strenuous.
And if they want to drug-test us, they don’t need to call us all into a little room after we’re back at the resort. Just come by our shelters out on the lake, scoop a little of that yellow snow into your USADA Dixie cup and send it to the lab.
It should come back about three parts beef jerky, two parts Old Milwaukee.
See? We’re clean. Let the Games begin.
Sam Cook is a Duluth News Tribune columnist and outdoors writer. Reach him at (218) 723-5332 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @samcookoutdoors.