Sunshine and a good bite equal success
The fish were biting and the sun was shining Saturday, Jan. 11, as 1,000 anglers took to the ice for the 13th annual Mobridge Chamber of Commerce and Tourism Committee Ice Fishing Tournament.
With temperatures nearing 40 degrees and light winds, it made for a nearly perfect day to spend out on the ice. The ice was not only covered with shacks and vehicles, but people took advantage of the nice weather and cleared spots for a skating rink, a chipping green (or blue?) and one individual even did some sunbathing.
Tourism Committee member Jesse Konold said it was good to see people able to enjoy the full spectrum of the experience and spend time out in the elements.
“This is the first time in the five or six years that I have been involved where they were all out on the ice,” said Konold. “It was nice to be able to get out there and talk to people who weren’t all huddled in their shacks.”
Of the 499 teams that fished (one team had vehicle problems and didn’t make it to Mobridge), 347 weighed fished. There were 1,253 walleye weighed in, equaling 2,068 pounds of fish. The winning team, David Smith of New England, N.D., and Corbin Smith of Mandan, N.D.,weighed six fish for a winning weight of 14.33 pounds.
Second place finishers Marlin and Jessica Berens of Glenham weighed six fish for 13.46 pounds. In third place were Quentin Berger and Matt Heupel, both of Aberdeen, who caught six fish that weighed in at 12.78. In fourth place were Casey Eisemann of Selby and Corey Eisemann of Mobridge, weighed in six fish for 12.37 pounds.
In fifth place were Jason Berens of Selby and Kent Anderson of Glenham with six fish weighing 12.25 pounds. (Top 25 teams listed below. For all of the results go to www.mobridgeoutdoors.com.)
Konold said the committee was overall pleased with the tournament and how smoothly it went. He said it takes about 100 volunteers from the expo on Thursday, the rules meeting on Friday and the weigh-ins and prize giveaways on Saturday, to keep the tourney on track.
“Compared to past years, I don’t we could have done anything different,” he said. “We adjust the way we run the tournament with the help of the anglers and their comments. I don’t think I heard any negative comments this year.”
He said that it helps that the anglers know how the tourney is run and that the volunteers are experienced also.
“It makes our lives a whole lot easier and makes it run very efficiently,” said Konold.
On Saturday morning, the teams met at the Midwest Beverage warehouse to receive their buckets and hit the ice. It took just more than 20 minutes to get the teams checked out and on their way to the lake.
With 349 teams weighing fish and the deadline for weigh-in set at 7 p.m., the last fish was weighed in at 7:12 p.m.
Volunteers and the Mobridge Police directed the traffic into Beadle’s Chevrolet where members of the Northeast South Dakota Walleye Club managed the weigh-ins. The staff of Cahill and Bauer and Associates, LLC, entered the weights into the computer program and the anglers were on their way to Scherr-Howe Event Center in short time.
“Each year we set goals for time and efficiency and this year we blew them away,” said Konold. “Even giving away more prizes on Friday night, we were done earlier than last year.”
This year tournament officials auctioned off five ice fishing suits to raise funds for the Mobridge Outdoor Pool Fund. The five suits brought in more than $4,000 for the fund.
Konold said one of the goals of the tournament organizers is to be able to put more of the money raised back into the community through nonprofit organizations.
Konold said the reputation of the tournament is dependent on how the anglers are treated while they are in Mobridge and the fact that so many return every year is a testament to residents who make them feels so welcome.
“If anyone had a bad taste in their mouth, they wouldn’t come back,” he said. “And we would hear about it.”
He said the committee would have a wrap-up and start-up for 2015 meeting on Thursday to have a discussion on feedback and if they can tweak the event to make a better experience for those who fish it.
Top 25: 1. David Smith, New England, N.D., Corbin Smith, Mandan, N.D., 6, 14.33; 2. Marlin Berens, Jessica Berens, Glenham, 6, 13.46; 3. Quentin Berger, Matt Heupel, Aberdeen, 6, 12.37; 4. Casey Eisemann, Selby, Corey Eisemann, Mobridge, 6, 12.37; 5. Jason Berens, Selby, Kent Anderson, Glenham, 6, 12.25; 6. Brian Lehr, Milbank, Jason Lehr, Aberdeen, 6, 12.14; 7. Chuck Maher, Brent Mareska, Timber Lake, 6, 12.03; 8. Brian Beaman, Kari Beaman, Selby, 6, 11.88; 9. Tim Melander, Rugby, N.D., Greg Chays, Minot, N.D., 6, 11.79; 10. Moe Marshall, Chad Hanson, Aurora, 6, 11.72;
11. Dustin Peters, Dickinson, N.D., Roger Peters, Lemmon, 6, 11.55; 12. Kevin Krueger, Dan Krueger, Groton, 6, 11.54; 13. Greg Nehlich, Mitchell Nehlich, Aberdeen, 6, 11.34; 14. Darrell Oaks, Jim McRoberts, Selby, 6, 11.02; 15. Leonard Glines, Box Elder, Charles Glines, McIntosh, 6, 10.89; 16. Cody Henderson, Lodge Pole, Mont., Dan Henderson, Glendive, Mont., 6, 10.83; 17. Brent Beitelspacher, Bowdle, Cory Jeuneman, Mobridge, 6, 10.71; 18. Jim Forrette, Milbank, Jeff Amdahl, Aberdeen, 6, 10.69; 19. Dennis Lehr, Aberdeen, Rob Grajczyk, Eureka, 6, 10.63; 20. Terry Florentz, Pierre, Todd Ruud, Fargo, N.D., 6, 10.60;
21. Lance Larsen, Jeff Krueger, Bath, 6, 10.53; 22. Roger Blaha, Jeff Juffer, Wagner, 6, 10.52; 23. Josh Hoff, Darin Peters, Lemmon, 6, 10.51; 24. Levi Duncan, Mobridge, Quintin Schlomer, Glenham, 6, 10.50; 25. Dave Forrette, Scott Sampson, Milbank, 6, 10.33.
– Katie Zerr, Jay Davis-