Today's Globe fish tale

Given the Globe's history of dubious trend pieces, today's front-page story on the expanding appeal of ice fishing--"Enthusiasm is catching: Ice fishing now a pursuit for all ages, both genders"--hardly comes as a surprise. Still, I'd be remiss if I didn't note just how shaky its foundations are.

Let's start with the nut graf, which comes right after the jump:

No longer is ice fishing merely the province of the solitary man who chops a hole with his hatchet, sits on an overturned bucket, and fishes to put food on the table. Ice fishing has become a bonafide family sport, spanning generations and the genders.

And how do we know this shift is occurring? Because this one guy says it is:

"It wasn't all that long ago that it was a man's winter sport, sort of like 'Grumpy Old Men' with Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon," says Jim Wallace, a retiree who has been ice fishing for decades. "There were quite a few stories about men and their bobhouses, some of them party central. But it has evolved into a family affair and women are catching some of the biggest fish now."

Now, Wallace isn't just any guy: he helps run the Great Rotary Fishing Derby, which is apparently a big ice-fishing deal. Still, he's one person.

What's that? You say the various female ice fisher(wo)men identified by reporter Bella English prove Wallace's point? Ah, if only they did. But really, all these examples tell us is that some women currently ice fish, not that their numbers are increasing.

Also unproven: ice fishing's (alleged) new, intergenerational appeal. Wallace says his sport (?) is now a "family affair." English gives us a couple people in their forties, a couple people in their twenties, a twelve-year-old, and a few others whose ages remain unclear. Is that different than it was 10 or 20 years ago? Who knows?! Who cares!

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