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Keep an eye out for updates all weekend long, as the finest ice fishermen in the world descend upon Wausau, Wisconsin for the World Ice Fishing Championships being held on Eau Pleine Reservoir. Outdoor Life is embedded with Team USA as it competes against Japan, Mongolia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Russia, Czech Republic, Lithuania, Estonia, Sweden, Finland, and Poland.

Fishing is a relaxing hobby for most of us, but International fishing competition is physical and intense. There are lessons to be learned by average anglers, but the sport is compelling to watch on its own merits, too. Each country puts out its top five ‘fishers’ as they’re called, one in each designated area, and they go head to head during a three-hour period, with no timeouts or breaks.

No electronics, (sonar, GPS, etc.) are allowed. No power augers, either. The fishers race on foot from spot to spot, using instincts and observation, drilling holes as fast as they can churn their hand augers, fishing with one eye on their own line and one glancing continuously to see who might be catching fish.

As with other athletic competitions, representing your country elevates the stakes. Competition days are Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 16-17. Likely starting lineup for Team USA: Myron Gilbert, Mike Boedeker, Billy Whiteside, Chad Shaub, and Jeff Kelm.

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