Ice Fishing on Cobbosseecontee Stream with Tony Antoine

February 27, 2024 Tony Antoine
Accessibility, Faces of MTF, Winter Adventures

Tony is a graduate of Bowdoin college who is originally from Baltimore Maryland. We were introduced to Tony's adventures in reconnecting with food traditions through the Nature Based Education Consortium's Stories for Change initiative. He grew up fishing and crabbing along the waterways of the Chesapeake Bay with his father and younger siblings. The love of nature and languages that was instilled within him at a young age has continued to this day. The outdoor activities he did growing up in Maryland have continued in Maine. In addition to a "crabber man" and fisherman he is also now an avid hunter and beginner forager.

Cobbosseecontee Stream is a place I’ve returned to on four separate occasions so far! I’ve been on this stream at different locations over the years. It’s odd that every time I found myself walking or boating on this body of water, I’ve been invited. One day I would like to change that! I would like to visit this body of water and be the one inviting others!

The first time I remember fishing this body of water, I walked on top of it in 2019. I have technically been a fisherman my entire life, but before then I didn’t have much experience with ice fishing. One of my first occasions of walking on water and ice fishing was at a Bowdoin-related event. Macauley Lord, an alum of Bowdoin College, does an annual event where he invites alums, current students, and their friends and family to come ice fishing for a day. 

As a man of Caribbean descent who is originally from Baltimore, I must say the idea of being in the cold for an extended period of time is tough. The fear of falling through the ice into frigid cold water is a big mental hurdle to overcome. My first time attending the annual Polar Bears on Ice event several others came as well. There were at least 30 people! I don’t remember having very much equipment. I may have had one small ice fishing rod, given to me by my father, which I brought up with me from Baltimore. I used a jig with a tiny piece of wax worm to catch a few fish. I caught fish that were familiar to me like white perch, yellow perch, and panfish, but this was the first time in my life that I had caught a crappie! I had never caught a fish the color of digital camo!

I was also lucky enough to be joined by Daniel Guarín, one of the Bates College Spanish-language TAs, from Colombia. It was also his first time ice fishing and his first time catching any of those types of fish! Some of the pictures and videos from this experience can be found in this Instagram post.

My second time attending this event was in February of 2024, on the North side of Thorofare Road. Five years later I have a lot more gear and am a lot more equipped! I was also able to invite a lot more people. My girlfriend came along and tried ice fishing for the first time, she did even better than me! A friend from Virginia and his partner, originally from Russia, also tagged along. To my knowledge, this was also their first experience with fishing through the ice.

I had several tip-ups, baited with dead fish, that I watched for hours in vain. I had drug my sled out fully equipped with hand auger, an Eskimo tent, a cooler for storing catches and sitting on, lures, lines, and anything else I thought might be useful for the occasion. We caught only one species of fish, but I still had just as much fun as my first time jigging through the ice in this location. We caught only crappie but I was so happy! We caught enough fish to add to the compost for my home garden, and enough to provide meals for myself and friends later that evening. Some of the pictures of my second go-around can be found in this Instagram post, and in this one.


Tony shared more here with our friends at the Nature Based Education Consortium's Stories for Change project.


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