Harbor Fest signals end to Summer

Hannah Wiegand

The South Shore Fishing Association kicked off the 32nd annual Harbor Fest celebration on Friday, Aug. 28, sending out nearly three dozen boats filled with eager fishermen competing for the biggest catch of the day.

Samantha Cretens, a junior business major, got to experience Harbor Fest for the first time this weekend. “It is really nice, I like it a lot, I like all the music. It is such a beautiful day, and I love seeing all the residents here,” Cretens said.re-20150829_141819

The two day fishing tournament kicked off on Friday morning, with a contest open to women and children competitors only. Men were allowed to tag along but were prohibited from interfering, handling the bait or the catch.

According to SSFA chairman Dan Bianchi, as many as 100 women and children on 31 boats departed Marquette’s Lower Harbor that morning.

The rule of the day was “catch and keep,” which meant participants could take their catch home with them.

According to Bianchi, the biggest fish brought in at the end of the day weighed 26 pounds.

Currently the record for largest trout caught in Lake Superior is 61 pounds, 8 ounces, and was reeled in by fisherman Lucas Lanczy in 1997, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources.

Saturday’s competition started off with catch and release, which involved the process of weighing the fish, then bringing them to tanks where they were examined to make sure they were healthy and able to be released.

The main issue officials run into is that some caught fish develop air bubbles that remain trapped inside their stomachs, throwing off their buoyancy, Bianchi said.

Bianchi and an official with the Elks Lodge spent the afternoon examining the captive trout, performing an intricate massage designed to dislodge the bubbles.

Some fish, unfortunately, did not survive to be released.

However, Bianchi said any fish that could not be revived would be donated for a veterans fish fry dinner to be held September 13.

Alongside the fishing experience, Harbor Fest was filled with local restaurants and vendors from Vango’s to Das Steinhaus, which provided a selection of food and drink items, attracting locals, students and out-of-towner’s to enjoy the festivities. Jack Pascoe, a Marquette resident for 50 years, said he comes to Harbor Fest every year.

While he has never participated in the competition, he said he enjoys coming out to watch the tournament and experience the other activities that make up the event.

“I like to look at the antique cars,” Pascoe said, “and the fishing derby; I grew up fishing in Marquette.” Pascoe said he was also there to support friends and relatives who were participating in the tournament.

Locals and students alike look forward to this every year as a celebration of the end of summer and warm weather. If you missed it this year, don’t worry, Harbor Fest will be back again before you know it.