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Angler Profile

This article made possible by:

By Gregg Kizewski

Pictured left to right:

David Snyder – President of the Wisconsin BASS Federation Nation, Mike Mattis – Bass Anglers St. Croix, Jim Burrington – River Road Bassmasters, Scott Zagrodnik – Madison Bass, Ben Potaracke – River Road Bassmasters, Stan Miller – Flambeau Bassmasters, Mark Smith - The FIB Boyz Bass Club, Rick Lindus - Arrowhead Bassmasters, Gary Schield The FIB Boyz Bass Club, Chris Wenzel Wisconsin BASS Federation Tournament Director, Randy Burch – Flambeau Bassmasters, Ernie Walters – Arrowhead Bassmasters. (Not pictured, Randy Eddy – River Road Bassmasters)

Over the course of the last 3 years, the Wisconsin State Federation Teams have had very impressive results in the BASS Northern Divisional Tournaments. The numbers are as follows:

1st Place 2005
1st Place 2004
2nd Place 2003

I think the word “awesome” would best describe the dedication and effort put forward by these teams. In March of this year when the 2006 Wisconsin State Team was announced, I immediately was a believer that this team would be a force to be reckoned with once again this year.

The truly amazing part of this was despite a reorganization of sorts for the Wisconsin BASS Federation in February of 2006, Dave Snyder (the president of the new Wisconsin BASS Federation Nation), and the board of directors, Chris Johnson, Ken Snow, Jeff Dyer and Chris Wenzel, were able to assemble a world class team of anglers. Collectively this team is very well rounded and has members that have fished in the Federation National Championship in the past!

The qualifying process included club, Zone, and State tournaments. When it was all said and done, the multitude of talent that the team possesses is really overshadowed by their unselfishness. You see they all responded to the team call with a resounding yes, despite having been told they may need to fund much, if not all of the expenses associated with the tournament out of their own pocket.

Recently at the State Reps Meeting I had a chance to talk to David Snyder about his team and how he felt about the upcoming Northern Divisional Tournament September 10th – 15th in Minnesota.

 Here my interview with David:

Considering the Federation re-organization and the fact the Wisconsin BASS Federation Nation (WBFN) was formed in February 2006, what do you consider the largest hurdle for the 2006 Wisconsin State Team?

The toughest hurdle to overcome for our state team is the financial responsibility. Our twelve-man team will represent the Wisconsin B.A.S.S. Federation Nation at the 2006 B.A.S.S. Northern Divisional against a twelve-member team from Minnesota, Michigan, Iowa, South Dakota, Illinois, Indiana and Ohio. They will spend ten days, living out of a motel, buying gas, meals, and most of it will be financed on their own. With the reorganization, starting with a small budget for the WBFN has been a drawback for us. I’m proud of this team after explaining to them that if they signed on as a WBFN State Team member they might have to fund their entire tournament expenses out of pocket. The WBFN would do what ever we could to help offset their expenses, but we did not have anything to offer at that time. What made me so proud was their reply, “The cost doesn’t matter, and it is an honor to be a member of the Wisconsin B.A.S.S. Federation Nation State Team.”

As I look at the names on this team, a majority of the members have been fishing with and against each other for a long time. Do you feel this tenure will work to the team's advantage?

Yes. This state team has a diversity of members competing.  Randy Burch and Randy Eddy are our veteran leaders and co-captains for they both have made it to the National Championship. The other members have countless years of tournament experience, and I feel this team is strong with talent beyond their years. With all that said, there is no replacement for time on the water and this team spends time on the water.

A few of the team members are close personal friends of mine, and I know they began their tournament pre-work immediately upon the naming of the team. Will the team have regular meetings to strategize?

Yes. Some have prefished last fall and are planning more prefishing this summer. Maps and any information pertaining to the Alexandria Chain of lakes have been purchased by the team. Teammates will correspond by Internet and converse on the phone all summer until the tournament. We will have team meetings every day during the week of the tournament, planning strategies and sharing information. A state team will not materialize to any level without the first step, which is to realize this will be a total team effort.

What do you feel will be this teams biggest strength?

Teamwork. Whenever you get a group of fishermen together and you explain to them that their personal egos have to be placed aside and fish as a team, and they accept that, you will have an attitude that will be hard to beat. Teamwork is the only key to win at the Divisional Tournament.

Besides the 12 members, will Team Wisconsin have any support members traveling with them?

Yes, the support will be our tournament director, Chris Wenzel, wives, girlfriends and myself. Anything Chris and I can do to help the team get an extra hour of sleep, time to re-tie, run their errands, get their equipment fixed or replaced, and more time to study the maps so they can concentrate entirely on fishing. The wives and girlfriends also play a huge part in the support of the team. The Wisconsin women are the cheerleaders for the team and have a reputation at past Divisional Tournaments of support second to none. They have a positive effect because they are always at the take off early in the morning, and weigh-ins in the afternoon cheering their team.  

Do you feel Minnesota will have a "home water" advantage when it comes right down to tournament day?

Yes. Minnesota has a good team and they don’t want to have their tails handed to them on their home water. They will be prepared and are well acquainted with the La Homme Du Chain of Lakes. I’m sure Paul Becka, President of the Minnesota BASS Federation Nation, will have their state team ready.

Dave’s closing statement:

Wisconsin is looking forward to the 2006 Northern Divisional, and with our veteran leadership and our talented young guns, we will be ready.