I've spent a lot of time on the water over a lot of years, but this afternoon, I had one of the coolest things I've seen happen on the water in a long time. We've been toying with ice-up conditions here in central Indiana for the past week or so. Yesterday, a pond near me that I drove by was 95% iced over even though the air temps hit 40+ degrees. Today however, when I drove past it coming home, the pond was 95% open water. I grabbed a rod and walked over to the pond with about an hour of light still left.
The air temp was 31 degrees, and there was not a stitch of wind. I knew something was a little different when I walked up to the pond and saw a small group of geese in the far corner. The small waves they made swimming to the bank and trying to get out of the water looked like they were moving across the pond in slow motion - liquid ice. I walked to the back end of the pond toward the deepest water and started fishing. There was a little bit of ice still edging the bank a few inches out, but not much. I was able to catch a couple bass, which made the trip worthwhile in itself (it's never too cold). However, as the sun set and the air temp started to drop even more, a super cool thing happened...the pond started to freeze over right before my eyes.
At first, it started out as just a patch or two of ice floating just off the bank. I didn't think much of it. But as the minutes passed, those little ice islands grew bigger, and in greater numbers. Then I noticed the small shoreline ice lining the bank had grown, now extending in feet, not inches off the shoreline. Soon, whole corners of the pond were basically skimmed in, all this within about 20-25 minutes. I was able to hook a bass as this was going down on a long cast toward the middle of the pond, and the last 15+ yards of bring him in was like pulling him through a slush mug (giving my age up with that one). He actually made a path through the skim ice.
It finally got to the point where I couldn't cast without my line freezing every time I lifted the rod tip and raised the line above the waters surface. It was super-cooling the lake water to the line on exposure, almost like ice on a power line. At that point, I simply walked away with a grin.