Ice spearfishing season is quickly melting away, but not for a couple of anglers who are hooked on the sport. They provide the bait for people who catch fish using a method of hunting that dates back to the Stone Age.
A small family business in Lidgerwood, N.D., has spawned a worldwide feeding frenzy for their merchandise year round.
The Whittier Decoy workshop, located in a simple basement, doesn't appear to have much allure, but if you look closely, you'll discover what fish and fishermen can't resist.
"Fish decoy making is an art," said Rick Whittier, decoy artist. "The people want my signature on the bottom, they want to know it was carved by me. They want to know it was painted by me."
Rick Whittier and his wife, Connie, carved out 3,000 wooden decoys a year.
They work seven days a weeks, assembling batches of 33 decoys at a time.
"It gets monotonous after a while," said Connie Whittier.
After the decoys are carved and sanded, the painting begins.
"Painting is my favorite part, that's the end of the line, that's when you see them come to life," said Rick Whittier.
The life-like decoys pass the eye test with flying colors, but to make sure predator fish are deceived, they also have to pass a swim test.
"They have to swim a circle and that's why there's a curved tail on them and they have to make a nice descent, a nice level descent down," said Connie Whittier.
Rick and Connie produce 400 different kinds of decoys, all of them maneuver and look just like the real thing.
Whittier decoys range in price from twenty-five to thirty-five dollars. To find out more, visit their website at whittierdecoys.com or see them in person at the sport RV and boat show in Minot, March 11th through the 13th.