ESCANABA - The 7th Annual Jig It! Ice Fishing Extravaganza will be underway later this month to raise money for a local charity.
Jig It will take place Saturday, Jan. 26, in the Escanaba Harbor area with proceeds from the event benefitting both the school-based and community-based mentoring programs of the Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area, according to BBBS Executive Director Tanya Schuster.
Kids' fishing runs from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. during Jig It, while adult fishing is from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., in the Escanaba Harbor area.
The annual Jig It! Ice Fishing Extravaganza is coming to the Escanaba Harbor Jan. 26. Above, a group of anglers tries their luck in the harbor during last year’s Jig-It. (Daily Press photo by Jenny Lancour)
Registration is at 8 a.m. by the Escanaba Beach House.
"We pre-drill all the holes so when they come in they get their tags and then they can go out and pick their holes," explained Schuster. "They cannot fish until 11 a.m."
The top prize awarded for the adult fishing contest is $3,000 and goes by the weight of the fish and the time it comes in, she said. Other top prizes include a 2-3 man portable shelter, Mr. Buddy Heater packages, and other fishing packages. A special raffle will be held the day of Jig It for a Jiffy Pro 4 propane powered ice drill with 10 inch STX package.
Door prizes will be given out throughout the kids' fishing event.
Registration for Jig It is $30 for adults and $5 for kids.
One new event this year is the Fish Pond - Under the Ice for kids.
"We're actually taking an area, fencing it in under the ice and we will be putting fish in there for the event," said Schuster.
The fish pond is open to kids from zero to 14 years old. A wire fence cage will be set up in 4 to 6 feet deep water and before the fish are released into the under water pen, a dive team will check the fence for holes. Then, between 800 and 1,000 trout will be released into the cage under the ice. A shack will then be put into place and fishing holes will be drilled. Tickets can be purchased for each effort to catch one of the fish. Each person who fishes has a chance to win door prizes throughout the day.
Children will be instructed to save their ticket stubs as 10 lucky ticket holders will receive brand-new fishing poles.
At the end of the day, the fish that were not caught are released into the Escanaba Harbor, said Schuster.
Last year approximately $9,000 was raised and nearly 450 people showed up for the event.
"It's been down but we figured it was going to be down because we moved it to the Escanaba Harbor and ... anybody that fishes didn't really like that idea, but one of the things we really looked at is the Bay was really hard for family and kids to get out to. We really wanted to do this under the ice kids' thing and we can't do it way out in the Bay, so we made the change."
Schuster said though she's unsure of the current ice conditions in the harbor, she has noticed a lot of fishing activity and four-wheelers out on the ice - a good indication of its thickness.
"With the weather that we're supposed to have until the 26th, we'll be good," she said.
For more information on Jig It, or to pre-register for the event visit www.bbbsbayarea.org/ or call their office at 789-0060.