Getting ready to Jig It
ESCANABA – Anglers will have an opportunity to win prizes and help the community when the 8th Annual Jig It Ice Fishing Extravaganza benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area kicks off later this month.
The adult fishing competition will run from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25, with registration beginning at 8 a.m. This year, the registration area will be located at the boat launch. The cost of entering in the adult competition is $30.
“Anybody that pre-registers gets a bag full of coupons (and) Bay de Noc lures,” said Tanya Schuster, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area.
Pre-registrations qualifying for goodie bags will be accepted online at www.bbbsbayarea.org through Friday. However, later registrations including on-site registrations the day of the event will also be accepted. All money raised by the event will be used to fund the mentoring work of BBBS in Delta County.
About 500 holes are pre-drilled into the ice for the adult competition. Registered participants can chose which hole they fish at following registration and check-in; however they may not being fishing until the competition officially begins at 11 a.m.
The top prize in this year’s competition is $2,000. Other prizes include a Jiffy Model 30XTw/8xt power auger, a Clam 2000 portable two-man shelter, Mr. Buddy Heaters, and a variety of other packages all valued at $100 or more.
Due to a few years of lower catch rates – including 2012’s competition where only a single, 4.5 ounce perch was caught – BBBS plans to release fish into the harbor prior to the start of registration the day of the competition.
“We are releasing 200 trout into Escanaba Harbor before 8 a.m. but we aren’t letting people know when exactly we’re doing that,” said Schuster, adding the fish would be released near the center of the competition area.
Participants should be aware that all Michigan Department of Natural Resources fishing regulations do apply during the competition, and any adult who catches a trout must have a trout stamp on their license in order for the catch to count in the contest.
For a $5 registration fee, children will have their own chance to catch fish in a special kids-only area. Under the ice, 600 trout will be released into a caged-in area, and children will be able to fish from this area from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
At 11:30 a.m. the kid’s fishing pond will be taken over by adults for the High Roller Fishing Contest, which is new to Jig It this year. Participants will register in teams of two and have 10 minutes to catch the biggest fish from one of the 15 holes in the children’s area. Each team may only keep three fish at a time during the competition.
“That’s where the second person comes in. You can have one person fishing and one person saying, ‘these are the fish we keep,'” said Schuster.
Entry in the High Roller Fishing Contest is $100 per team, and the winning team will receive 50 percent of entry fees from the contest – up to $750.
“If anyone is interested in that ahead of time, they can call us at the office and we can put their name on a list,” said Schuster, noting that there are no online pre-registrations for the High Roller Fishing Contest.
For those wary of braving the cold, Schuster notes that both food and warming areas are available for fishermen who wish to take a break from sitting on the ice.
“We do have tents with portable heaters so we do have places to get out of the cold,” said Schuster.
Special raffles will also be held during Jig It including 50/50 raffles and card raffles for a Jiffy propane auger package and set of tires from Mr. Tire.
For more information about Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Bay Area or to register for Jig It, visit www.bbbsbayarea.org or call 789-0060.