I choose to ignore Facebook ads just as much as the next person, but the little banner that kept proclaiming my 67% discount on my first purchase just kept popping up over and over, and in a weak moment, I clicked on it. That one click led to watching a shameful number of Mystery Tackle Box unboxing videos on YouTube, which then led to watching videos of the lures in action, which then led to watching fishing technique videos, which ended in a particularly confusing video demonstrating the Walleye Whip/ Nae-Nae. Look it up, it's a real thing. But I digress.
Long story short, I decided I was worth the $5 for the first month, partially in hopes it would curb the urge to binge at my infrequent stops to Bass Pro--how "I just need some new line and hooks" turns into "I need a credit line increase on my card," I have no idea. Must be something they pump into the air in those stores. Soon enough, my first ice fishing box arrived at my doorstop. I actually ran to the house, clutching my little brown parcel; since I am built for comfort and not speed, running is a big deal. Pausing long enough to haul out some photography lighting equipment, I grabbed my pocket knife and broke the packing tape seal. Let the unboxing begin!
Now, I chose an ice fishing box because I live in Illinois, it is winter, and I'm bored with life and need an excuse to get outside. I have never ice fished before, and aside from a new pole and reel I got for Christmas, I have zero gear for winter jigging. The learning curve is steep with this adventure, so thank goodness for the little "What's Inside" card included in the box so dummies like me can figure out what exactly is in my shipment. Well, the little card and the Internet, of course.
Right away, the 15/16 ounce Hatch Natural lure from Lunkerhunt caught my eye (and the tender pad of my thumb, thanks to its extremely sharp treble hooks). Blame it on my comfort zone of bass fishing, but this one seemed right up my alley, and I plan to give it one a go in warm water as well as cold. Past that lure, the rest were far more unfamiliar. A vertical jigger from Hildebrandt, a rainbow tungsten jig from Kenders Outdoors, and the Lucky John Baltic lure, covered in hooks on three sides, left me more puzzled, but that didn't stop me from weighing them carefully in my palm, holding them from the eyelet to gauge movement, and even squint my eyes to imagine what a fish might see in cloudy water. My box rounded out with some neon anise bombs, similar to my Wisconsin Mini-Mites for bluegill and crappie, and a pink Lindy Watsit jig in an alluring water bug shape. I think I spent a solid hour poking, prodding, and arranging my little box of joy, and I'm not ashamed one bit. Best $5 I have ever spent, and that includes the time I got an extra nugget in my 6-piece order from McDonalds. That's serious stuff.
Spring will come, and my Mystery Tackle Box shipments will switch to bass as the temperatures rise. Unfortunately, Mother Nature isn't cooperating, and my ice fishing dreams are being stymied by unseasonable temps and open waters. I can't even carve out enough time to head up to the good old "hard water" of the Wisconsin Northwoods, but for the time being, my new additions are sitting right on the table where they belong, ready and waiting for a temperature drop which can happen at a moment's notice during the late part of an Illinois winter.