Contest winner talks about squeezing $10k fish through the hole.

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“Did you have a strategy today?”  I asked on this week’s MNSJ Radio Show.

“Uh, no.”  Was the answer from Brad Monson, the $10,000 cash winner of the 1st Annual Ice Castle Classic ice fishing tournament on Saturday, February 8th.

A 16+lb buffalo was the winning catch, and we asked him how it was getting a fish of that size through the hole that had narrowed since being drilled the night before.

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“We had trouble,” Monson explained. “My brother came over and grabbed a hold of it and he couldn’t get it through the hole.  He said ‘I can’t get it through the hole’, and I said, ‘well you HAVE to!’.   He wanted to get a chisel and I said ‘your hands are going to freeze before we get it chiseled.”  He finally grabbed it and worked it through the hole and on to the ice.

Monson kept an air of calm about him during the process, not sure if this would be the winning fish or not.

“It’s not over ’til the fat lady sings.”

The tournament was held on Lac qui Parle Lake, part of the Minnesota River system, just north of Montevideo in western Minnesota.

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Nearly 4,000 people were on the ice for the first ever tournament, larger than the expected amount for the inaugural year.  That meant a few growing pains for the first year, like a longer line for beverages and speakers that didn’t quite reach to the other end, but anytime you put on an event for the first time, it can be a bit of a learning experience.

It was a tough bite during the worst time of the day, as 5 fish were caught.  2 crappies, a perch, a 4 lb northern pike and the winning buffalo.  Plans are being made for accommodating an even larger group for the 2nd Annual Ice Castle Classic.

See more pictures here and here.    And hear his entire interview on this week’s radio show.

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