The USA Ice Team, comprised of the top ten ice anglers in the country, will come together for two intense days of training this weekend in preparation for the 11th World Ice Fishing Championship (WIFC) in Minsk, Belarus, Feb. 22-23 2014.

The team will be meeting at their home-away-from-home training center, the Holiday Acres Resort in picturesque Rhinelander, Wis., Holiday Acres previously hosted the 2010 WIFC, an event that started with an overnight blizzard followed by a power failure in the early morning hours before the first day of competition. The power outage, thought to be an act of sabotage, was just a fluke of nature that fortunately didn’t affect the outcome … two great days of fishing for USA, finishing with team and individual gold medals!

The 2013 WIFC X, held in Wausau, Wis., was a bit of a disappointment for the USA Ice Team as they hosted the event but failed to win a team medal. USA ice angler Chad Schaub, Sand Lake, Michigan, managed an exceptional come-from-behind section win on day two, securing an individual bronze medal.

For the 2013-2014 ice fishing season, Team USA continues its partnership with Take Me Fishing, Cabela’s, St Croix Rods, Shark, Aqua-Vu, HT and new clothing outerwear sponsor Frabill. Despite the generous support of sponsors team members still spend significantly trip overseas, sometimes thousands of dollars pursuing their dreams of world championship victory.

Team members who have competed since the beginning in 2009 and 2010, like Mike Boedeker, Lansing, Mich., have a lot invested in the USA Ice Team program, and it shows. Boedeker not only has 2010 WIFC individual and team gold medals and a trophy on his mantle, he and the other team members also have the incredible memories of having competed in far-flung places like Poland, Ukraine and Kazakhstan accompanied by the well-deserved respect and friends made along the way.

Since USA Ice Team’s last place finish in Poland in 2009, they’ve been training with completely different equipment from Ukraine, Russia and Latvia. Team Captain and Angler Mike McNett stated, “I can’t even tie the mormyshka (jig) on with the small .08 mm lines we are using for these tiny European fish! The last time I competed for Team USA was in Kazakhstan 2012, and I couldn’t even see the line.”

“The style and type of fishing in Belarus should be similar to the fishing in 2011 in Ukraine, so in Rhinelander we will be in the small bays fishing for the baby perch. Hopefully, I can put the guys on a spot where they can’t catch anything bigger than my little pinky finger … LOL,” says Rhinelander resident and Coach Brian Gaber, whose job isn’t just putting the team on fish, but also calculating the necessary strategies and gathering much needed intelligence about the local conditions in Belarus.

If you are interested in joining Team USA and their journey victory, check out www.usaiceteam.com or the Facebook fan page for more information. You can also like the USF3 Facebook page to stay in touch with all the USA Fishing Teams.

As an American, it’s hard to imagine fishing for a gold medal by catching fish you would use for bait – but that’s what European style competitive ice fishing is all about. If this intriguing style of fishing is something you would like to learn more about, then please join Team USA in Rhinelander for the training event!

Go to www.usaiceteam.com for more information or just stop by Holiday Acres Friday night December 13 to meet the USA Ice Team members.

Logo courtesy USA Ice Team

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