The countdown to the World Ice Fishing Championship (WIFC) is underway. For the first time in the United States this prestigious tournament found a home in Rhinelander, WI March 12-14, 2010.
Eleven countries will be represented when they take to the frozen waters of Boom Lake. Similar in many ways to the Olympics, teams from around the world come together at the WIFC to compete for the championship title in both team and individual events. Each team consists of five anglers with one alternate, a captain and coach. Most teams will also bring support personnel, trainers and managers. The final members of the USA Ice Team were chosen following the final qualifying event on Lake Thompson over the weekend.
Making the 2010 team are:
Doug Bussian, Columbus, WI
Mike Boedeker, Lansing, MI
Tony Boshold, Carol Stream, IL
Billy Whiteside, Eau Claire, WI
Myron Gilbert, Brooklyn, MI
Bob Esbensen, Palatine, IL
The competitors will be joined by coach Greg Wilcznski of Pleasant Prairie, WI, team captain Mike McNett of Lombard, IL, International Delegate Joel McDearmon of Tomah, WI and directors Chris Ward of Chaska, MN and Brian Gaber of Rhinelander, WI.
The tournament is a true test of one's fishing skills, determination and endurance. The rules prohibit the use of power augers or electronics of any kind. The anglers must rely on intuition, research, experience and stamina to find and ultimately catch fish. The ice on Boom Lake will be over two feet thick, something the European teams are not accustomed to as hand augers have to be used. Champions are crowned after two grueling days of competition with placement based on the total weight of fish caught by each team. Each team member is given a number according to their placement for the day and each day's numbers are added, determining the winner with the lowest number. Ties are broken by the heaviest combined weight in the tournament.
The countries represented include: Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Sweden, Canada and the US. Panfish will be the target with only live bait allowed.
The WIFC is sponsored locally by Downtown Rhinelander, Inc., Rhinelander Area Chamber of Commerce and Rhinelander Room Tax Committee who've combined for a weekend celebration complete with a Parade of Nations, ice shanty pageant, live entertainment, kids fishing clinics and more. The festivities begin Friday afternoon (March 12) at 3:00.
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