Maybe it was about the bobber. That little orb of connectivity between the earthly realm and the limnetic underworld. Seeing its descent into that icy tunnel of fading light. Staring intently, waiting for the quick pop, the slow roll onto its side, and then that slow journey down the hole, knowing that there is a fish at the bait, anticipating the weight at the hook set,the distinct crappie struggle, sliding another slab onto the ice. Irresistible delights all. Perhaps it also had something to do with the lack of a real winter. Virtually no snow, so that the ease of accessing the panfish grounds coaxed me out there several evenings per week.
But I've gone in a different direction here:
3 Tsp olive oil
1 medium onion
3 stalks celery
3 medium potatoes
1 can chicken broth + 2 cans water
1 can evaporated milk
2 bay leaves
5 sprigs fresh tarragon (one good pinch dried)
3 good pinches thyme
salt & black pepper to taste
1.5 - 2 pounds white fleshed fish (crappie, perch, bluegill, eelpout, walleye - hell, bass if you're desperate). Cut he fish into 2 inch chunks
In a heavy sauce pan or stock pot heat the oil to a shimmer and add the chopped onions, carrots, and celery and sweat for about five minutes. Season well with salt and black pepper. Add the fresh chopped tarragon, bay leaves, and thyme. Stir a bit until the tarragon wilts and begins to get pungent. Add the chicken broth and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for about ten minutes. Add the chopped potatoes, bring back to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for another fifteen minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Add the evaporated mik and bring back to a simmer. Add in the fish and cook until just firm - this depends entirely on the thickness of the fish chunks. Bluegills can be done in two minutes, while walleye and eelpout could take ten. Just don't over cook the fish !
Oh baby !!