Tournament Fishing by Joe Craig

Here's a quick glimpse into tournament fishing through the eyes of one our anglers.  Joe and Blake Craig finished 5th out of 25 for Team of the Year in 2019.
A lot of folks ask “what’s so special about tournament fishing? I can go to any lake I want, at any time and go fish. I don’t need a league or a tournament to tell me where to fish!” My response is simple - The Challenge!
Sure, I can go to the same three or four lakes each ice season and catch my limit of crappies, throw in some nice bluegills and maybe the occasional 3 or 4 pound bass. That’s great! For some, that’s the perfect day on the hard water. For others, they want the countless hours of reading maps, reading DNR reports, drilling hundreds of holes, burning gallons of gas, and the pure adrenaline of chasing trophy fish. Ice fishing tournaments is a pure addiction. It’s 365 days a year, 24 hours a day. Middle of summer trolling lakes, mapping potential hot spots for winter, learning the contours, studying the fish patterns all for a six hour tournament on a Sunday afternoon in the dead of winter!
If you ever want to see pure, off the limb engineering, talk to a tournament ice angler. Over the last few years I have seen some of the most remarkable, smartest ideas being built in garages across the Twin Cities. From setting up ATV's and snowmobiles to carry all kinds of gear to making a $10 five gallon bucket into a $700 ice fishing necessity! 
Tournament Ice anglers are a special breed. They take every hook set on the ice as if it were that kicker fish we all need to take that plaque home on Sunday afternoon, whether it’s a Tuesday after work scouting a new lake or Sunday’s first line drop. Over thinking each move they make, is this the right color? Should we stay or go? What changed from yesterday? What am I doing wrong? The team next to me just reeled in three fish and my sonar is blank!  Why?  Sitting outside in negative degree weather with even colder wind chills, beards frozen across theirs faces all for the chance of calling themselves number one that day, on that lake!
Luck? Of course! Skill? Without a doubt! Dedication? Hard work? Countless hours away from home? A right combination of all of those will put you in contention to be apart of an elite group of ice anglers that have won some of these tournaments!
- Joe Craig -

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