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Move over Punxsutawney Phil. Meet Captain Gill, a Chicago fish that predicts the weather

Boat industry folks got creative in encouraging people to stay on the water past Labor Day.

Captain Gill, a prognosticating fish, floats in a tank at Burnham Harbor Thursday as his weather prediction is read allowed.
Mitch Dudek/Sun-Times

Pennsylvania has the prognosticating ground hog known as Punxsutawney Phil.

Now Chicago has Captain Gill, a fish that predicts whether there will be six more weeks of good boating weather after Labor Day.

On Thursday, at Burnham Harbor near Soldier Field, Captain Gill “pointed” to one of two tackle boxes containing scrolls with predictions written on them.

An actor in captain’s hat read one aloud: “Here ye, Here ye ... I do not see my shadow!”

And with that — plus some confetti cannons and the screech of a dozen air horns — the boating season was extended.

The result was no accident, as the tongue-in-cheek affair was put on by Discover Boating, a campaign managed by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, a Chicago-based trade group for companies that make boats.

“People generally think the boating season ends on Labor Day, but that’s really not the case,” Discover Boating spokeswoman Maggie Maskery said. “Most parts of the country are still warm well into October.”

Chicago, with 10 harbors, has the largest municipal harbor system in the country.