Disdaining chilblains, some 5,000 Michigan fishermen swarmed over a frozen Detroit lake the other day for the annual Metropolitan Beach ice-fishing derby. The fog hung low and the cold was biting, but so were the 10,000 yellow-belly perch that were hauled through the 12-inch ice sunny side up.
As dawn broke over Lake St. Clair, many fishermen already had staked out their claims and commenced their shivering all-day vigils. They came fully prepared with stools, hot coffee and brandy.
Since proffered prizes were of nominal value only, the rewards sought and found by most contestants in the fishing derby were largely intangible. Nevertheless, contest judges checked all catches to make sure none had been smuggled in from a fish market.
Central heating for this canvas shanty is provided by packed bodies of Detroit Welder Ed Rzepka and his family. Rzepka nursed fishing line through hole drilled in the icy patio.
Impromptu two-step of slides and glides helps stir the blood and pass the time for transistorized Ron Beadle and his date Barbara Kluck as they wait for fish to trip their line.
Flaunting fish, Ben Barnes happily taunts his rivals. With such delicacies as maggots, fish eggs and fish eyes for bait, many contestants managed three lines at once.
Longest perch was caught by grand prizewinner Matthew Szukalowski (below left), who used minnow trimmed with fuzz from cap of his brother Marvin, the runner-up.