Added bonuses of the fishing challenge

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The challenge got off to a very rocky, yet telling start.

Week one was the coldest weather in recent memory. Most ponds and small lakes were iced over, and the big lake in our area had ice on the ramps and all along the bank. I consulted a friend who fishes ponds and streams frequently. I would normally not have even thought about fishing that week in the past — bonus trip No. 1.

We hit a stream that was flowing free of ice. We zeroed there and then hit a pond with two fountains that kept it from freezing up. Zero. The ice at the edge was nearly 4 inches thick. We had no fish with one day left in the week.

Who came come up with this idea? That was quickly becoming a popular sentiment.

The predicament was discussed thoroughly at church Sunday morning. Rick and Mike decided to try and bust the ice on the lake and launch a boat. We kept close tabs with our phones. The first fish of the year flashed across the screen that afternoon — a bluegill. They caught it while crappie fishing, and ended up catching a mess of crappie too. Bonus trip No. 2 already in the books in the first week.

The challenge was paying immediate dividends.