Nightly News   |  January 27, 2014

Beer, Brats and Fishing for the Biggest Catch

Every year Minnesota hosts the world’s largest ice fishing competition, offering the chance to win a pick-up truck, and “leave with a buzz.”

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> finally here tonight, one more note about our cold winter , and a very important reminder that it is only bad news if it is unwelcome in your life. based on the theory that anybody can throw a hook in the water and try to catch a fish on a summer day, only the few, the proud and the brave prefer ice fishing . it is an activity that you really have to love to participate in. and in minnesota , they really do love it. despite the wild rumors, it is just an excuse to get together and enjoy a beverage or two. nbc's harry smith is back from the great not.

>> reporter: when it comes to winter, minnesota people pretty much think the west of us are wimps. with a daytime high of two degree saturday, almost 10,000 people showed up for the annual brainerd event.

>> have you done this before?

>> it is in 12th year.

>> reporter: it is a big deal because whoever catches the most fish wins a pickup truck . you ever won anything?

>> no, maybe this may be my year.

>> reporter: but here is the cold, hard truth. most people don't catch a thing, even when they know what lie s underneath.

>> you have all of this sophisticated stuff, the camera, right? doesn't it help you catch anything?

>> no, never does.

>> never does?

>> ice fishing it appears is less about fish than it is about beer. . how do you keep the beer from freezing?

>> drink it fast.

>> this is minnesota hospitality, at its finest. it's really good.

>> reporter: it is sort of like a football tailgate without the game. why do you do this?

>> i don't know. these guys said it was really fun and it has been freezing cold every time i have came. and it just keeps getting worse.

>> you always leave with a belly full of beer and a good time with your friends.

>> reporter: and while the party is important, the fishing is more than an afterthought, it em bodies the struggle of man against nature, it is minnesota citizens staring into the icy void with the faith that somewhere down there is the dream, the big one, the legend maker . or not. that is it? that is what you caught?

>> yeah.

>> reporter: some of the trophies were barely bigger than bait. but at the end of the day , a champion was crowned.

>> look at that!

>> reporter: and a truck was won. and minnesotans once again proved to the rest of us that we need not be casualties of the cold, but conquerers.

>> be back next year!

>> reporter: harry smith , nbc news, minnesota .