USA Ice Team Training Camp is the second article in 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.


“My Arms Hurt”, Chad responded when I asked how practice went in December. Team Captain Mike McNett had the guys drilling holes. With just over a foot of ice in Rhinelander-Wis- consin, it was quite a jump in comparison to the lakes north of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where we have been warily searching for safe ice. In Belarus they will be encountering up to a meter of ice, with hand augers. Sharp blades, speed handles, and getting your shoulders in shape are some of the keys to getting through the ice in short order. Repetition of drilling was one of the primary focuses of the USA Ice Team’s December practice.

Chad was able to defend his spot on the team during the open tryouts in early March of 2013. Held in Rheinlander, Wisconsin, anglers fished a series of five heats where coaches accessed the skills of each competitor to evaluate and select a team that will represent the USA in the following year’s championships. One of the more grueling heats is number four, where endurance is the goal. Three hours to catch as many fish as possible. After 1,342 fish . . . that’s an average of 28 fish per hour per angler. This really started to weed out the guys who were not going to make the cut. The final heat is the first competitor to 25 fish speed heat. Catch 25 fish the fastest and get out of your grid.

Agility and endurance are very important skills that are required for a timed fishing event. The team will be practicing together and separately as the date approaches to travel to Belarus. Running or walking aggressively on ice can be dangerous, so even spending time playing on the ice with his two young children can be beneficial to becoming completely comfortable moving in snow, ice or slush in a ice suit and white mickey mouse boots with katoola ice chains. There will be days when Chad will spend hours sitting on the ice practicing with his palm rods and micro jigs catching what most of us would consider bait. Some of the jigs that Chad will use only are 1 to 1.5 millimeters in diameter. Most are tungsten some even adorned with jewels to attract the species they will be targeting in the 2014 competition.

Chad Shaub
Chad Shaub

Chad will be taking a break from practicing for USA Ice Team to compete in the NAIFC Championships with his partner Steph Sissell on Mille Lacs Lake, roughly 100 miles north of Minneapolis. Their points for the 2013 season, they have earned the right to start third out of over 70 teams competing. So Chad should be getting plenty of practice catching. By the time you are reading this installment Chad and Steph will be back in the Great Lakes state fishing with family and friends. If you would like to meet them plan on attending the NAIFC tournament on Croton Dam in Croton, Michigan February 8-9, 2014.

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