Local fishermen brave cold to fish
Published 5:31 am Thursday, February 5, 2004
By By MARCIA STEFFENS / Vigilant/Argus
The four lonely ice shanties multiplied Saturday as the second annual Stone Lake Ice Fishing Derby attracted 148 entries.
As the sun set the fishermen and women pulled sleds over the ice back to Marcello's Pizza to have their catch measured.
Prizes doubled this year, with the number of those fishing.
The top third fish in length netted the winners $665 per fish.
One man was waiting when Fred Stein, one of the owners of Marcello's, opened up for those late to register at 5:15 a.m. "One hour of fishing adds an hour to your life," said Ed Zablocki, his partner.
Along with large dollar slices of pizza, Marcello's offered free coffee and hot chocolate to those fishing.
The registration fee of $15 included a stocking hat printed with Stone Lake Fishing Derby, with 90 percent going into cash prizes. Next year they will have matching scarves, said Stein.
The winning bluegill was caught by the only woman out fishing on the sunny, but cold Saturday.
Jennfier Parrish of Cassopolis couldn't believe she won against "all those men." Her bluegill measured in at 10 inches. She was fishing in her husband Terry's shanty.
Dan Frantz of Dowagiac won for the second year with a 11.25 inch crappie. Last year he won with a 9.375 inch bluegill. "He fishes every day. It's his favorite thing," his wife Le Ett Frantz said.
Also first with a 13.21875 inch perch was Maurice Williams of South Bend, Ind.
The Cassopolis/Vandalia Chamber of Commerce and Southwestern Michigan College sponsored the derby.