Team Extreme brings fishing tourney to Detroit Lakes
A Team Extreme Ice Fishing Tournament is coming to Detroit Lakes soon.
The event, which is open to the public, will take place Sunday, Feb. 9 on Little Detroit Lake.
The DL tournament is one of five being held in Minnesota this year, with placers scoring points.
From those five tournaments, the top 25 two-person teams in Minnesota will then compete against the top 25 teams from Wisconsin and Iowa in the national tournament in March.
The program, headquartered in Coon Rapids is only in its second year of existence, but its popularity seems to be gaining momentum — going from an average of about seven or eight teams for each tournament (which were only held in Minnesota last year) to an average of 20 teams this year (which expanded to Iowa and Wisconsin).
“The gist of it is, the eight biggest crappies, eight biggest sunfish that make up the most overall weight wins,” said Tad Westermann, co-owner of Team Extreme Ice Fishing.
There is only a first place winner, which can expect a cash prize of about $1,000.
But there are other ways to earn money throughout the tournament, said Westermann, explaining the tournaments’ contingency programs.
“So for instance, if teams are wearing Striker Ice suits and they win place for show, they win $100,” he said, “or if teams are using Solar Sportsman batteries, the one that scores highest wins $100. It’s a way for teams to be able to have a chance at recouping some of the costs of participating in the tournament.”
The Lindy Legendary Fishing tackle also sponsors a Big Fish award, so whoever catches the biggest fish in that event gets $100 in tackle and $100 in cash.
Westermann says the organization was formed after he saw the sport he loved going down what he calls “the wrong path.”
“There was a lot of favoritism — there was a group of people who had been around a long time and were really tight with tournament officials and judges,” said Westermann, who says there was rule-bending and things were being “kicked under the rug.”
So in starting up a new competitive event for ice fishing, Westermann says there were a few other things they wanted for the organization.
“We really wanted to encourage more teams of like father-daughter, father-son, mother-son, husband-wife … those types of teams,” said Westermann, who says a desire to encourage youth to get involved drives them.
The cost of this tournament plays into that idea, as it is $100 for a 2-person team.
“Most are around $200 to $250 per team to participate,” said Westermann, adding that when the cost is kept low, competitive fisherman are more likely to take a gamble on a child or a spouse, as opposed to taking another adult male.
“In most of the other tournaments the teams are two guys, two buddies,” said Westermann.
Aside from the cost and the typical makeup of the teams, the Team Extreme Ice Fishing Tournament is also unique in that the event is solar powered — everything from a 16 by 32 solar power tent with a scale, sound system and wood burning stove.
“We try to promote the idea that as fishermen, we need to take care of our resources, and if we’re running generators from nearby houses and pulling in electrical power, we can do better and we can show other sportsmen how to do this,” said Westermann, who says the tent ends up being a festive, fun place for participants and the community.
“We invite anybody to come out there and watch the tournament, watch the weigh in,” said Westermann, who says they run a tight ship with rules so that participants know they’re on an even playing field.
“We call up the teams for the weigh-ins and we ask them, ‘Did you have fun? Who caught the big fish? What was working and what wasn’t?’ It creates that fun atmosphere, and everyone applauses after each weigh-in, and it’s very fun on the ice,” said Westermann, who says judging from the amount of participants signed up already, he expects Detroit Lakes to set a record for the Team Extreme Ice Fishing Tournaments.
“Everybody has a competitive edge,” said Westermann, “but when we take off in the morning, drop the lines and it’s time to fish, the heart pumps and it’s a feeling you can’t get anywhere else.”
Participants can register online by logging onto
www.teamextremeicefishing.com or by showing up to the mandatory rules meeting the night prior, which will be at the solar tent near the access west of Zorbaz in Detroit Lakes at 5 p.m.
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