A Journey to Belarus

A Journey to Belarus is a four-part series written by the MI Ice Guys. MI Ice Guys will follow Chad Shaub as he prepares to compete in the 2014 World Ice Fishing Championships in Belarus.


Mid-winter of 2012, I was talking to my friend Steph when he mentioned something about when Chad gets back. I bit, “Where is Chad fishing now?”

“Kazakhstan,” Steph replied. I was in awe. He went on to explain that Chad had made the USA Ice Team. I was torn, was I more interested in the fact they actually had world championships for ice fishing or that Chad, our goofy fishing buddy, was on the team? The questions flew out of my mouth; I wanted to know everything. How did he get on the team? What do they fish for? Is it Pro or Amateur? Is he winning?

The USA Ice Team was put together in 2008 to compete in 2009 World Ice Fishing Championship (WIFC VI) held in Augustow, Poland. The team went on to compete in next three years of competitions gaining momentum each year. In 2010, the WIFC VII was held in Rhinelander, Wisconsin, 2011 WIFC VIII was held in the Ukrane, and 2012 WIFC IX was held Kazakhstan. Team USA took the gold in 2010 and bronze in 2012.

Passionate about the sport and always ready for competition, Chad decided to try out for the team and was selected. With that, my MI Ice Guys colleagues, Chad and Steph plummeted head first into the North American Ice Fishing Circuit (NAICF).

I have fished with Chad many times on the ice. He does not sit still. We refer to him as the hole hopper. Chad chases fish. He will drill more holes in a couple hours than most anglers will drill all year. And the kicker is, at the world level there are no power augers. There are no flashers or cameras allowed. You fish and fish hard. You take only what you can carry because there are no snowmobiles or quads. The down and dirty of it is that they section off a half-acre zones and an angler from each country is drawn to fish the heat in that zone. Each angler is given two markers and must fish next to at least one of them. The other is used to protect an additional hole. They fish for three hours and then weigh in. All five team members have a heat on Saturday and Sunday and then points are tallied.


On the 13th and 14th of this month, Team USA will be meeting in Rhinelander, WI to practice. Chad says that the team coach has auger drills planned. There will be other strategy sessions and practice drills to come before they fly out to Belarus. Endurance is one of the most important skills to have as a tournament angler.

On Zaslavl, the roach is the main species. They resemble a golden shiner and it would not be a surprise to see each angler catch 3-4 kilograms per heat. Chumming, a common practice brings the fish in the area of the hole. Blood worms or even maggots are the preferred, but it is not unheard of to use pastries or old bread as chum as well.

On February 22, 2014, Chad and his teammates from the USA will take the ice on Zaslavl water reservoir in Belarus to try to show the world that we can fish, World Class.

The USA Ice Team goes for gold, February 22, 2014 in Belarus.