Parkston resident wins ice houseA tip up was all Parkston resident Dave Bax needed at Saturday’s 26th annual Devils Lake Voluntary Fire Department ice fishing tournament. Bax, who drove nearly seven hours to the North Dakota town, caught a six-pound, five-ounce northern pike, helping him win a brand new hardshell ice house.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
A tip up was all Parkston resident Dave Bax needed at Saturday’s 26th annual Devils Lake Voluntary Fire Department ice fishing tournament.
Bax, who drove nearly seven hours to the North Dakota town, caught a six-pound, five-ounce northern pike, helping him win a brand new hardshell ice house.
Attached to the tip up was a treble hook, smelt and a live minnow.
His fish was good enough for second place in the northern pike category, which was one of three categories at the tournament. The winning northern was 10-pounds, one-ounce.
“I was actually in the lead for about a half an hour,” Bax, 46, said. “First place was $1,000, but I would rather have the fish house. That’s what I went up there for. I told my wife I was going to pull it home. And I was really surprised that I did it.”
Bax’s friend, Greg Heisinger, a Parkston resident, bought the $25 entry ticket during a summer road construction trip for work.
Heisinger and Bax drove together the day before the tournament and both fished in the tournament.
About 4,400 people entered, and only 38 fish were caught all day.
But that was enough to fill the top five places in each of the categories, which were perch, walleye and northern pike.
Officials awarded more than $170,000 in prizes.
Bax said his new ice house, which is 16 feet by six feet with six fishing holes, is valued in between $6,000-$8,000.
The 25-year Parkston resident, who’s a native of Moorhead, Minn., said the battle between him and his winning fish took about a minute.
“It was longer than I wanted it to be,” Bax said. “I was pretty worried he would break off. I didn’t take my gloves off right away, and I lost the line for a little bit. Then I had to regroup and grab the line.”
As Bax helped the fish make its way up the hole, he had a group of people gathered around him.
“The crowd was kind of cheering me on,” he said. “And before I had the fish out of the hole there was volunteer fireman on a 4-wheeler to take me to the weighing station.”
Once the fish was in Bax’s sight, he said he saw it had swallowed the hook and his heart started to race even more.
“It was a pretty exciting moment,” Bax said.