Monday March 7th, my partner and I wheeled it close to 500 miles to Alexandria Minnesota to start pre fishing for the Team Extreme Nationals. We had heard chatter about the tournament possibly being cancelled due to bad ice and a week forecast of 50 degree temps. Tuesday we started on Lake Mary where I found one suspended crappie in 35fow. After a few hours I decided it was time to load the wheeler and check out the south end of the lake. Once we got to the boat launch we ran into the tournament director who was checking ice and he informed us he was able to punch his spud bar through in just a couple of hits and that Lake Mary was a no go for Saturday. We followed him to Lake Reno and upon arrival we saw a bunch of water on top of the ice and a pretty good size hole starting at the boat launch. The group of us walked out to another tournament guy and he informed us that there was only 10'' of soft ice and that it was coming up in chunks while he was drilling. While talking to him he proceeded to land one of the largest pumpkinseeds that i have ever saw. I quickly asked my partner to run back to the truck and grab the sled and rods. While discussing the direction of the tournament, the director made the tough call and put safety first and cancelled the tournament all together but that didn't stop us from fishing. I was extremely surprised at the size of crappies, gills and pumpkinseeds in Lake Reno. We picked though some smaller fish but got a nice bucket of fish for our travels. With the amount of activity it didn't take long for the pike and bass to get active. Towards the end of the day I had a huge red mark show up on my Vexilar FLX-28 and I slowly lifted the tip of my 13 Fishing Widow maker and when I saw it start bowing I set the hook and it was game on. After a 10min fight with 3lb test a 26'' pike came through the hole. Wednesday we went back to reno with a group of TE competitors and had a blast fun fishing. A lot of big fish were landed and lost. After catching a ton of small perch I decided to put on a perch color Rapala Rippin' Rap, thinking this was my best shot at a 16'' crappie. It didn't take long before I stuck a tall 12'' crappie and a 13''er that was pushing a pound. During mid day, I saw my partner bowed up with something big and after a few minute fight a healthy 18'' large mouth came topside. We decided that night to call it a trip and wheeled it back home Thursday. Overall it was a great time being able to fun fish a very talented group of guys instead of being in competition mode.