Ben Blegen – Ice Camp
A lifelong resident of Minnesota, Ben is a competitive tournament angler, competing on both hard water and open water. Ben is a current member of the United States Ice Fishing Team. Over the last two years, Ben earned a 1st and 3rd place finish in USA Ice Team tryouts. As an angler, he will be competing in the World Ice Fishing Championships in Kazakhstan in March of 2018. Ben also serves a position as Vice President on the Ice Team Board of Directors. In winter when Ben isn’t practicing for world competition, he competes in the North American Ice Fishing Circuit (NAIFC) with team partner and twin brother Luke Blegen where Ben has won 4 NAIFC qualifier championships including 8 top 5 finishes, two big fish awards, and has 3 top 3 finishes for the NAIFC team of the year.
Through Ben’s world competition experience with the USA Ice Team, his success across the fishing industry and his high school hockey coaching experience, in 2017, Ben was nominated, accepted and confirmed as the captain of the United States Predator Fishing Team. Ben’s first World Predator Fishing Championship was held in September in Konakovo, Russia. Next year, Ben will lead the United States Predator Team to England, with very optimistic hopes in earning a gold medal for the United States. “This year was a huge learning curve, trying to overcome language barriers, learning a new format of European style open water fishing and mastering a new set of rules the United States hasn’t been familiar with. With next years Championship being held in England, breaking the ice on leading a new team and our team’s success on day 2 in Russia, we have an huge opportunity to improve our chances for a medal net year in Europe”. Word competition as an angler and a captain on two different teams takes up a lot of time and when asked why, Ben’s reply is always the same, “The patriotism and honor you feel when representing the United States on a world level is extremely humbling. It pushes you to be the best angler/captain you can be. Hearing your national anthem being played as you enter the stage, in front of every country, every news crew and media people, all the cameras flashing…it’s an overwhelming feeling many don’t get a chance to experience”.
Some of Ben’s other achievements include filming for Midwest Outdoor Television, instructing multiple kids camps and clinics throughout the United States, contributing to articles and periodicals such as In-Fisherman magazine and multiple appearances on radio, newscasts, and podcasts.
Ben’s ice fishing addiction was inspired at a young age by a couple of close family friends who took the time to introduce him to the sport and enjoyment of fishing. It was these family friends who taught him the basics of fishing and the overall enjoyment of what fishing has to offer. Ben contributes his success to many friends throughout the fishing community and is grateful every day for the opportunities that have been afforded to him. “Sometimes success doesn’t happen by itself, and I’m extremely grateful for every person who has supported me along the way”.
For more information on the USA Ice Fishing Team, the USA Predator Fishing Team, or to follow Ben Blegen, check out Facebook @TeamUSAFishing and @USAIceTeam or on the web at www.USAPredatorTeam.org and www.USAIceTeam.org.
Listen to an interview with Ben Blegan