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Contest was fun at Winnibigoshish

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I was privileged to attend the first of the Ice Leaders series of fishing contests, held last weekend at Lake Winnibigoshish. From my observations, I would say that it was a success, and very much displayed to all who attended, that at Fishing Minnesota, we do indeed have more fun.
I hitched a ride with Dave Hoggard and Richard Smith, we arrived at Denny’s resort, lake Winnibigoshish, around 4:00 am. It was about 5:00 am when we met with other FM members and proceeded out onto the lake, and helped set up the main operations and weigh-in station. The main crowd of contestants started arriving around 7:00am ,and continued to grow until after 8:00, when the contest was officially started.
The ICE Leaders contests are in some ways similar to other ice fishing contests, in that all anglers are welcome, prizes for largest fish are awarded, and there is a drawing for many great door prizes. But these contests are also unique in that anglers can obtain points for species and size when the points will be tallied and grand prizes and trophies will be awarded. ( see www.IceLeaders.com ).
Another unique aspect of this tourney is the free food! That’s right, thanks to a great sponsor ,Schweigert , fully cooked, smoked bratwurst along with buns, and hot chili , was provided for all at no extra cost. There were also several dozen assorted rolls from The Gingerbread House bakery in Rochester MN. ( not only the oldest bakery in Rochester, but it’s perfect for anglers! The owners name is Fish!).
Because few things are better after a day on the ice than hot food, Dave (catch-n ) Hoggard and Rich smith set up a boiler and grill to warm up the chili and Brats. I spent an hour or so taking photos and fishing until around 1:00 PM , when I took my place at the spatula.
Folks started bringing in their catch for weigh in after 1:00. I saw a large eelpout, a couple of Northern Pike and a Walleye, but around 2:00pm I found myself involved in a heavy feeding frenzy, and lost all track of the contest. Although it was a fishing contest the feeding was being done by the contestants, for when folks got a taste of the warm Schweigert smoked bratwurst and hot chili, the grill and food stand soon became one of the most popular spots on the lake. It seems that the lakes in Minnesota and Schweigert precooked smoked brats have at least one thing in common, “ even when it’s cold you can still get a healthy Bite!”
For all the particulars of this contest you’ll have to go to the fore mentioned site, because all the while that prizes and awards were being handed out I was kept busy at the grill, talking , laughing , and serving up brats. I had so much fun that I am going to do it again at the contest coming up on Mille Lacs.
Unlike other ice-fishing contests I have attended, I noticed that when braced up with a little warm food, folks didn’t appear so cold and worn out after the days fishing, and seemed much happier and more interested in walking around to look at the displays.
A lot of hard work and planning goes on behind the scenes in order to make an event like this come together as smooth and successful as this did. The large shelter in itself had to have been a major act of planning and engineering. The Road King ice fishing house, besides being the ultimate in ice fishing shelters, made the perfect office! Setting the whole works up in the glow of car headlights, took fantastic teamwork, and is a perfect example of why the folks at Fishing Minnesota have more fun.
John Eggers (spindoctor)

[This message has been edited by Rick (edited 01-15-2004).]

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It was great fun, and great having you there! And... thanks for the good help setting up and doing some cooking.

Here is some of the kind of WE HAVE MORE FUN, that we went for...

Sure was a great day to be fishing.... and you are right about the Schweigert Smoked Brats... they did make it better!

Richard Smith put out a tasty pot of chili too...

The food went well and all had a good time... lots of great prized went out to lots of good FM folks.
I hope to see some of you same folks at the Mille Lacs I.C.E. Series.

John, there'll be a warm spot for you in front of the cook-stove!
Dave Hoggard

Fishermen are catch-n on
Catch'n Tackle
For Bass, Walleye, Pike, Lakers, Trout, Panfish
Used by FishingMN Family

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Mmmmmm...just looking at those pictures of the brats and chili make me hungry for more! They sure were good.

I dropped you an e-mail and I got a delivery failure notice. Drop me an e-mail and we can touch base.

Good Fishin,
Matt Johnson

First Choice Guide Service

[email protected]
Catch-N Tackle and Bio Bait
Stone Legacy

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Stay tuned for the video of the fun! Should have it downloadable by morning. Sorry for the delay computers you know...

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