Thousands brave Minnesota's freezing temps for ice-fishing contest

BRAINERD, Minn. -- Call them the truly fishing faithful: 11,000 spreading across Hole in the Day Bay, braving wind chills of about 20 below zero, competing for prizes in an ice-fishing extravaganza for charity.

Here, hope springs eternal from holes drilled through as much as two feet of ice. Matt Erickson's been trying for years to catch his first fish.

Competitors drilled through as much as two feet of ice.
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 "You know, you come out. You brave it. Come out one day, stay inside for three days," said Erickson.

Lesson one: cold weather fishing fashion is all about hats of all sizes and species, said Aaron Krepel, who wears a coyote hat to keep warm.

Joe Goble, a machinist from the local area, knew enough to bring out his Barcalounger.

"You just tuck back and the wind will kind of go around you," said Goble. 

When someone actually caught a fish, it was rushed to the weighing tent because the biggest fish wins.

Joe Goble brought along his Barcalounger.
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 In the end, avid fisherman Art Karsky was the big winner with a 4.73-pound walleye caught just seven minutes before the contest ended.

The grand prize: a brand-new pickup.

Karsky doesn't mind if people laugh at him for fishing out in the cold.

"They can laugh all day, I got a new truck," said Karsky.

For the losers, there's always next year and a belief in that old fishing saying about patience: good things come to those who bait.