As a week of subzero temperatures broke into warmer weather, fishing enthusiasts gathered at Foli Park in Plano on Feb. 2 for the sixth annual Plano Molding/Frabill Ice Fishing event to support the Plano Dare fund, and to keep the lake stocked with fish.
The event was started six years ago by Plano Mayor Bob Hausler, after Frabill, a worldwide fishing supply company, moved its headquarters to Plano, as part of Plano Molding. Hausler, an avid ice fisherman, said, “When they moved here, I thought it’d be a neat idea to have an event like this.”
Hausler set up a sponsorship with Plano Molding and Frabill for the event, with the companies contributing prizes for raffles and giveaways.
Ice fishing involves drilling holes into a frozen body of water, and using spears or fishing rods and lines to catch fish. About 200 men and women used sleds Saturday to drag their gear onto the ice. Some used hand augers to drill holes in the 10-inch ice sheet, while the luckier ones had motorized drills.
“Ice fishing has kind of evolved over the years, where it used to be going out, drilling a hole, putting a jig down and hoping to catch a fish,” Hausler said. “Now, it’s advanced to where there’s really sophisticated electronics.”
Hausler also pointed out that advancements in shelters, particularly in portable tents often called flip-shacks, give anglers more options for comfort while ice fishing than the more basic approach of sitting on a bucket waiting for a bite.
Although some of Saturday’s participants braved the cold without a shelter, others used elaborate flip-up tents with heaters, or partial tents for windbreaks.
“Ice fishing has evolved into a user-friendly sport,” Hausler said.
An almost 50-degree difference in temperature over a four-day period didn’t affect ice fishers, he said.
“The cover of snow that we have, then we have about 10 inches of ice on the lake,” Hausler said. “It could be 60 degrees out here today, and it wouldn’t affect the ice.”