Icy Adventures: bonding beyond the cold

Father-son duo explores frozen lakes in Newfoundland, weaving a story of shared passion and memories.

Devlin, left, and Steve Erbland are gearing up for another ice fishing season. The father and son duo have been going on adventures since Devlin was only two-years-old. Ariyana Gomes/Kicker

Ariyana Gomes

During winter’s icy grip, Steve and Develin Erbland embark on thrilling adventures that blend tradition with modern-day excitement.

Armed with a shared passion for the outdoors, this father-son duo has carved out a niche for themselves in the world of outdoor exploration, all while documenting them on a YouTube channel they call Angling and Arrows.

Steve, a full-time firefighter by profession, and his 11-year-old son, Develin, are avid enthusiasts of hunting and ice fishing, activities deeply rooted in Newfoundland culture.

“I’ve been pretty much ice fishing my whole life,” said Steve. “Ever since my parents took me out and now I’m 53.”

The official season for ice fishing in Newfoundland and Labrador opens on Feb. 1.

And for this dynamic duo, ice fishing is more of an experience of spending quality time in the winter, says Steve.

His son, Devlin, has been his cherished angling companion since he was only two.

“I definitely love catching a fish or two,” said Devlin. “But my favourite part is the hot chocolate afterwards.”

“Believe it or not, we don’t catch a lot of fish,” said Steve. “If we catch half a dozen trout, I mean, we had a great day.”

When talking about the challenges they face during their winter escapades, Steve emphasizes the importance of safety and preparation.

“The biggest thing for any trip outdoors is you have to tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back,” said Steve.

As a firefighter, he diligently makes sure that safety on the ice is maintained whenever the pair is out in the frozen wilderness.

“We stay prepared for all sorts of dangerous situations for sure,” said Steve. “And I made sure the little guy knows the tricks, too.”

Develin nods in agreement, as he demonstrates how to cleverly tie a safety rope around your hands in case of an emergency. The rope is used to pull someone from the water if they fall through the ice.

“Yeah, safety comes first. Dad taught me how to stay alert and watch out for any danger, like cracks or thin ice,” said Devlin.

The 11-year-old has also become an expert in drilling holes in the ice to check its depth before going fishing.

After decades on the ice, Steve has garnered some advice for new ice-fishing enthusiasts.

“Make sure there is four to five inches of ice for ice fishing and around six to eight for snowmobile or ATVs,” said Steve.

When they’re not conquering the frozen frontier, Steve and Devlin share another passion: hunting.

United by their love for the great outdoors, the father-son duo finds solace and excitement in the art of tracking game through the wilderness.

“But I’ll take every second that I can get with him, whether we’re trekking through the wilderness or huddled together on the ice.”

Steve Erbland

“Hunting has always been a part of our family tradition,” said Steve, surrounded by a gallery of his prized antlers mounted on the walls of his basement.

But Devlin assumes different roles for this adventure.

Since the legal age limit to hunt in Newfoundland and Labrador is 12, Devlin still has to wait one more year before he can learn the skills from his father.

“I love filming during our hunting trips,” said Devlin, who takes care of most of their YouTube videos and editing.

Their YouTube channel recently got monetized and managed to attract over 8,000 subscribers in less than two years.

“Devlin and I both really enjoy sharing our memories,” said Steve. “And you know the money we get out of it is good for a tank of gas for a month so that’s not too bad,” said Steve, sharing a hearty laugh with son Devlin.

Steve fondly reflects on the bond he shares with his son through their adventures. But, Dad says, another sport played on ice has begun to capture Devlin’s attention.

“Ever since Devlin started playing hockey, it’s becoming hard to get him outdoors,” said Steve.

“But I’ll take every second that I can get with him, whether we’re trekking through the wilderness or huddled together on the ice.”

About Ariyana Gomes 21 Articles
Ariyana Gomes is an assistant editor and multimedia reporter for Kicker. She enjoys hard news; covering stories that matter to local residents. Got a news tip? Email her- ariyanagomes@gmail.com

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