There’s nothing like a father and son spending some time out on the ice together, looking for that big catch.
Winning a little money only makes that time sweeter.
Hunter, and his father, Tim Goodwin, know both feelings very well. Last Sunday at Sheridan Lake the duo won the Walleyes Unlimited Sheridan Lake Ice Fishing Tournament for the second year in a row.
Nine-year-old Hunter was one of the only kids in the field for the second straight year, as he and his father reeled in 10 northern pike weighing a total of 29.24 pounds, almost double the second-place finishers Scott Guffey and Brad Wheeler, whose catches measured 15.65 pounds.
It was also almost twice as heavy as the winning weight from the duo last year, when they won with nine pikes weighing 16 pounds.
“I was really excited,” Hunter said.
“It’s great, all I ever wanted was a kid to take ice fishing, and we hunt and do a lot of other outdoor activities,” Tim said of his son. “Since he was just tiny he’s been all about anything outdoors related, especially fishing.”
Hunter has been fishing for as long as he can remember. Last year in addition to winning the tournament with his father, he also received a award for being the youngest participant.
He said his love for ice fishing is simple; he can’t fish on open water in the winter.
“We’ve been fishing our entire lives, during the winter we can’t open water fish so we ice fish,” he said. “You get to chase flags and jig, it’s really fun.”
His father said Hunter has always been focused on fishing.
“He’s just kind of an old soul, seems very mature for his age,” he said. “He doesn’t play video games or watch cartoons. He watches YouTube videos on fishing. He doesn’t have toys, he plays with fishing tackle.”
The tournament isn’t a kid’s tournament, but Hunter and Tim are planning to take on the seasoned veterans again next year, but are contemplating making a run at a title in the perch division.
Hunter already has strategies planned out, saying that different bait is required for perch because they are smaller.
Tim said he has been fishing in the tournament on and off for the last 25 years. Last year, he decided that it was time for him to take on a different fishing partner.
“Last year I finally thought he was old enough to hold his own,” Tim said. “My hope for the tournament was to catch some fish and have a good time. We did that and more.”
To his credit, Hunter said his father has been a pretty good teammate over the last two years. Tim said the two might try another tournament in the summer.
“He helps me with drilling holes, getting lines down. He’s a good partner,” Hunter said.
The secret to their success, according to Hunter, came through preparation. The two went out to Sheridan Lake the day before the tournament to scout locations, and see where the fish were biting.
The two have accrued a nice pot of money, winning $280 over the last two years. Both years, Hunter has had a very practical way to split the money.
It’s simple math.
“Of course he got the ($190) check last year and he said, ’so that’s what, 90 bucks each?’” Tim said.
Tim agreed, waiving the gas and cost of equipment he said he paid for.
While other kids might spend the money on a new video game, Hunter said all of his money this year and last year will go towards fishing equipment.