Excerpts from original article in The Grand Ledge Independent.
On March 13 and 14 local ice angler Mike Boedeker lead TEAM USA to a gold medal in this years World Ice Fishing Championship. Teams from eleven countries, including Poland, Russia, Latvia, Kazakhstan, Finland, Estonia, Sweden, Ukraine, Lithuania and Canada showed up in Rhinelander Wisconsin to fish Boom Lake and challenge the USA squad for the gold medals. To the surprise of almost everyone the U.S. finished first with 38.5 points in the International Angling Confederation scoring system. Poland took second place and silver medal team honors with 54.5 points followed by the bronze medal winners from Russia with 56 points. Individual honors were just as impressive as Boedeker claimed the crystal vase and gold medal as the 2010 World Champion. During the event anglers compete according to international rules that prohibit power augers, fish finders, cameras, gps's or any other electronics. The lake is divided into ten small sectors that are off limits to any fishing during the practice days. On the first competition day five anglers from each country draw for positions in the first five sectors. Points are then awarded as to where each angler finishes in each sector, i.e. first place earns 1 point. Day two of competition begins with a new draw for the second five sectors. The two day points are combined for both individual and team honors.
Boedeker said the first morning was a"spectacle of the most intense fishing pressure" he had ever experienced. "Anglers are constantly jockeying for position, trying to find the hot bite and keep other anglers at bay. It's actually quite like a chess match with a little fishing thrown in" he said. By the end of the event it was clear that the American's home field was a definite advantage. "The Europeans stuck to their strengths and targeted the smaller perch and bluegills that were close to the bottom while the American's went for the bigger crappie that were suspended higher in the water column."
Boedeker said the biggest thrill of his fishing career was at the medal ceremony, standing under the American flag while the national anthem was played, with his wife Janice and USA team mates there to share the moment with him. Along with Mike who is from Lansing, MI, the other Gold Medal Team members are Myron Gilbert of Brooklyn, MI, Tony Boshold and Bob Esbensen from Illinios and Doug Bussian and Bill Whiteside from Wisconsin. This year's event was Boedeker's second time on the USA Team. Last year he fished in Poland and finished second to Bussian in points but had the top weight for the team.
Boedeker and his local partner, Dave Young of Charlotte, also appear on the Ice Men T.V. show that is shown on the Versus and Sportsmans channels. To access previous episodes, log onto www.naifc.com and click on the Ice Men icon.
Mike is sponsored by the Shappell Corporation of Grand Ledge, MI. and says "The Rover 1.5 is the perfect tournament ice shelter. It's light and compact enough to carry on a quad and has a great tow bar for pulling around out on the lake. The room inside is unbelievable. I can carry all my stuff which usually includes a flasher, camera, backpack, bait bucket, extra bucket just for fish and all my tackle. In addition I can fully stand up and move around when I'm giving Kids Camp Seminars. Also let's not forget the world famous Jet Sled. I use these things year round for things like towing duck and geese decoys out in the field, pulling deer out of the woods, gathering campfire wood and yard wook around the house."