AUBURN — On opposite sides of a small opening in the ice on the shore of Lake Auburn, two fishermen were lit up by spears of light as the sun rose through the trees.

One an experienced angler, the other a rookie.

At 69, Tom Obrey of Lewiston decided it was time to take up fishing.

“I thought I’d give it a shot,” he said as he tried to tie a shiny lure that he just tore out of the packaging.

“It’s tough to do when you are blind in one eye and can’t see out of the other, but I can’t even feel my fingers in this cold,” he said.

After a quick cast and a tug, the lure snagged and eventually snapped. He headed to his car to warm up and tie another. He left his new tackle box on the rock, a good sign that he intended to come back.

On the other side of the opening ten feet away stood P.J. and Jenni Albert of Auburn, arm and arm, looking out across the lake in the still of the chilly morning. Behind them on the ground was a folded fishing vest with a hat on top, holding down a photo in a plastic bag. Inside was a portrait of P.J.’s father who had recently died.

“This is the first year in 25 years that I have not fished with my dad on opening day,” P.J. said as he deftly untangled the line of his wife’s new pole. His father’s pole, now his, was already expertly baited and tempting finned prizes under the ice.

With lawn chairs, blankets, a book and a radio, the Alberts appeared to be set for a long morning of fishing. The pieces of PVC pipe used to get their lines under the ice affirmed P.J.’s knowledge and experience. 

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