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MDC Offers Gigging for Beginners Workshop

Sep 25, 2013

For weeks, folks have been sharpening gigs and tuning up rigs in preparation for gigging season. For the past three years, the staff of Twin Pines Conservation Education Center and area Conservation Agents have been teaming up to offer beginning gigging opportunities to Missourians. Last week, more than 3 dozen participants from all over Missouri got to experience a new way to discover nature - gigging for suckers.

Ladies Night

The workshop on Saturday evening was held for women only on the Current River south of Van Buren and featured a fish fry, lessons on how to prepare suckers and how to gig. Agents and Education staff took the ladies out on the river and helped them spot the suckers and helped make sure that only the gig poles made it in the water. Every success was punctuated by a smile, a yell and a high five. And there were successes. Every gigger save one got a fish. One of the participants said they were glad that they ate first. If they had to survive off what they caught they would starve. Another said it made them appreciate the meal they had before they got on the boats.

From "Fat wood" to Halogen

Gigging isn’t a new way to fish. Native Americans gigged with sharpened sticks and baskets of sand held their gig light of burning pine knots or “fat wood” as it is called. Gigging has evolved from flat bottom boats with metal baskets with fat wood, to propane and gas torches on the front of the boat to today’s jet boats with generators and halogen lights. What has remained the same is the family atmosphere and each gigging trip ending in a fish fry and fish stories.

Let's Go Gigging!

The season is young and more opportunities are scheduled for beginners.  For more information on this or other programs check out Twin Pines Conservation Education Center in the Related Information section below. 

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Wendy, Trish and Laura show the results of their successful night of gigging.
Wendy, Trish and Laura show the results of their successful night of gigging.
Wendy Crase, Trish Bryan and Laura Friga show the results of their successful night of gigging.

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Naturalist Skyler Bockman demonstrates how to properly prepare a sucker.
Naturalist Skyler Bockman demonstrates how to properly prepare a sucker.
Naturalist Skyler Bockman demonstrates how to properly prepare a sucker.

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Giggers Emily and McKenna learn to scale and score their harvest.
Giggers Emily and McKenna learn to scale and score their harvest.
Giggers Emily and McKenna learn to scale and score their harvest.

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Giggers Emily and McKenna show off a portion of their harvest
Giggers Emily and McKenna show off a portion of their harvest
Giggers Emily and McKenna show off a portion of their harvest

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Area MDC agents assist beginning giggers get ready for their first trip
Area MDC agents assist beginning giggers get ready for their first trip
Area MDC agents assist beginning giggers get ready for their first trip

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Karen Armstrong learns to scale, score and cook a sucker fish.
Karen Armstrong learns to scale, score and cook a sucker fish.
Karen Armstrong learns to scale, score and cook a sucker fish.

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Giggers lights cast an erie glow from the driver's view.
Night time makes for great gigging and interesting photos.
Giggers Steve Juhlin and Melanie Carden-Jessen are instructed by Agent Brad Hadley on a recent gigging workshop.

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