Thousands seek 50,000-euro jackpot in Estonia fishing test

February 17, 2013
People take part in a fishing event on the frozen lake Viljandi in Viljandi, Estonia on February 16, 2013. More than 8,000 participants from different countries arrived for the fishing event.

Thousands took to the ice of a frozen lake in southern Estonia on Saturday in the hopes of catching the big one—a marked fish worth a 50,000 euro ($67,000) jackpot.

Sadly it was the one that got away, despite the 6,500 people who tried their luck at the Estonian Gold Festival on Lake Viljandi, organisers said.

The annual festival saw 130 marked fish released into the lake a week earlier. To win the contestants had to catch at least 17 marked fish from three different types and the jackpot fish.

Nursing student Merike Maetaga, a 28-year-old from Tartu, came away the day's big winner by catching a marked fish worth 3,000 euros.

"I came here just for fun and getting the biggest prize is a total surprise. I have been a since childhood when my dad started to take me to fishing," she told AFP.

Organisers said fishing is one of the most popular hobbies in Estonia, a small Baltic nation of 1.3 million people, and that nearly 8,000 people turned out for the festival, supported on the lake by a 30-centimetre (12-inch) layer of ice.

"It is one of the biggest fishing competitions in world," judge Martin Meier said.

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not rated yet Feb 17, 2013
Good to see an article about my hometown on one of my favorite popular science websites, althought I don't really see anything novel or scientific here. Or maybe I'm just used to it.
not rated yet Feb 17, 2013
I wonder how 8000 people drilling holes in the ice will affect its ability to carry all the fishermen.
not rated yet Feb 20, 2013
Imagine it was only about 15 cm thick too. I have no idea, how we all stayed relatively dry.

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