Today was a reminder of the need to put safety first at all times on the ice and obtaining the knowledge to know what to do when you go through. How it happened: I was out on my 20 acre pond ice fishing today because I had taste for some fresh bluegill. I started off in one spot with no success and then moved to another with no success again. With no luck in the first 2 spots I thought I would walk over, drill some holes, and try my luck in a third and final spot. A spot that I knew would have some gills. However, that was the last spot on the lake to freeze over. In fact, the whole lake has had a layer of ice on it for a couple of weeks now except that one spot, my honey hole. But it too has been covered for a week now. I started walking in that direction and about thirty yards from my second spot the ice under my feet suddenly felt like it was giving way. It was a similar feeling to placing a thin piece of plywood on two cinder blocks about 6 feet apart and standing in the middle. The plywood when stood on will bend and bow but not give. Well, the ice bent and bowed but instead of not giving, it dunked me when it was bent to far. In fact, the ice slowly sank down about a foot. Then when it had enough, it completely broke sending me in as if I had jumped in on a summer day. I'm sure many of you are thinking, if you felt it giving way why didn't you step back and trun around. Those who have taken the ice bath know, once you take that wrong step there is no going back. It just all sort of happens in slow motion and before you know it you're swimming. So, now, I'm in the ice water. Knowing what to do in the situation was key to having it not be critical. First, I didn't panic. After catching my breath when feeling the cold I simply turned around and started trying to pull myself back onto the ice from where I had come from. The ice broke another two feet or so, probably the length of my stride, before I found some solid stuff to pull myself up onto. Even, after pulling myslef up I didn't immediately stand up. I did the whole stay on your belly and shimmy like a seal thing for about 10 more feet. After it all happened and was all over I actually starting laughing. I couldn't believe it had just happened and I could be so stupid. In reality, the situation could have been much, much worse. Particularly beause I was by myself. What I learned: PUT SAFTEY FIRST: If I was unsure of the ice quality then I shouldn't have ventured forth or at least had one of those big metal poker sticks jabbing the ice every two feet. SURVIVAL: Knowing what to do and not panicking was the key to getting out as fast as I went in. Also, it helped that the old lady wasn't home when I came in the house soaking wet. My first thought after I got out: How am I going to explain this so that she will let me back on the lake? I would like to hear from others, your stories, that have went swimming in the middle of winter.