Northwoods Adventure: Traditions Continue At 28th Annual Ice Fishing Extravaganza
For the 28th consecutive year, the Brainerd Jaycees held its annual Ice Fishing Extravaganza at Hole-in-the-Day Bay on Gull Lake. People from all over the country come to the Brainerd Lakes Area to partake in the fun, and in many cases, it’s an opportunity to spend time with family.
“We’re just out here having fun and having some bonding time,” said Randy Frack, who’s attending his 10th Ice Fishing Extravaganza, this time with his son. “And watching all the other people run up there to take their fish in.”
Traditions have started at the Extravaganza and whether they catch anything or not, people come back year after year to spend the afternoon with 10,000 of their closest friends.
“It’s fun,” Frack said. “It’s a challenge with this many people trying to catch something.”
The challenge is what keeps bringing Brian Pollace back every year.
“More than anything, it’s kind of nostalgic,” Pollace said. “We come here every year and still try to catch a winner, something to get a prize or whatever.”
The Ice Fishing Extravaganza is extra special for Brian because he met a lifelong friend at the tournament, eventually resulting with both moving up to the area and thus, a tradition was born.
“This tournament is where it all kind of got started,” Pollace said. “So, we make it a tradition to come up every year and participate and have fun.”
For some out on the ice on Saturday, it was the beginning of their Ice Fishing Extravaganza journey.
“First time out here,” Cody O’Reilly, said. “We came out and pre-fished the tourney hard, tried to get out some good spots; but you know, we didn’t come out to try and catch a bunch of fish. It’s more about the camaraderie of the experience.”
And like many who come once, Cody expects to make this an annual tradition for him and his buddies.
“I think we’ll probably come up here every year from now on,” O’Reilly said. “We’re having a good time. It’s a lot of fun.”
For those wanting to start their own traditions, the date of the 29th annual Brainerd Jaycees Ice Fishing Extravaganza is set for January 26, 2019.