JAX Angler Wins 1st Place in Three Lakes Fishing Tournament

Posted by Julia Reinisch, Lead Content Strategist at JAX | 03.08.2019

Group of Anglers on Ice - JAX Goods


My favorite part about working at JAX is that I get to talk about fishing all day.– Mitch Wood, JAX Broomfield


Anyone who knows Mitch Wood, knows he loves to fish. Born and raised in Denver, Colorado, Mitch joined his local Boy Scout trip when he was 12 years old. While he enjoyed learning survival skills and the camaraderie of his fellow scouts, Mitch is most grateful for one particular experience.


The First Catch

“I remember us going on a camping trip, and I’d never gone fishing before. They taught us how to set up our rods and I launched my first few casts. I eventually hooked my very first rainbow trout, and in that moment, I knew that I loved it,” remembered Wood.


After that first trip, Mitch knew he was hooked. When he returned home, he immediately started to save up his allowance money so he could purchase his first rod. As he began to accumulate fishing gear, he started to fish at local parks around his house. At that time, he was fishing for bass and sunfish, but as he started learning more and more about his craft, he knew he wanted to get serious with fishing.


In 2006, Wood was able to make his childhood passion into his career when he started working at a local outdoor outfitter. While working there he met others who shared his passion and shared stories of fly fishing and ice fishing. Mitch knew he had to keep learning to reach the next level, so he started learning about the techniques used to catch different species of fish.


When Your Childhood Passion Becomes Your Career

Mitch joined JAX Broomfield in 2016 for the chance to help others discover and grow in their own love of fishing. Since that very first camping trip, his fishing knowledge base has grown. He enjoys going on all kinds of fishing trips and he now finds himself baitcasting, fly fishing, spin casting, deep sea fishing, trolling, offshore fishing, and especially, ice fishing.


Mitch regularly participates in local fishing tournaments. This January he competed in the 31st Annual Three Lakes Ice Fishing Contest at the Indian Peaks Marina in Granby, Colorado.


Tournament weigh station at Indian Peaks Marina

Tournament weigh station at the Indian Peaks Marina in Granby, Colorado.


Prepare to Win

The contest started at 6:40am sharp, with anglers claiming their fishing holes scattered across the frozen lake.


No stranger to this kind of competition, Mitch came prepared. “Before any competition, I make sure I’ve done my research. I visit local websites to learn about the species of fish in the area and their behaviors,” shared Wood. “I also make sure to read reports on ice conditions. A couple of websites I really like to use are Fish Explorer and the Colorado Fishing Network.”


Angler holding fish


Wood is meticulous about checking his equipment before every fishing tournament. He explained, “A lot of people forget to replace their line and then they find out that the line is old and can’t hold up to the tension with the fish. Old fishing line can ruin what might otherwise be a great day out on the ice.”


Wood brought his own collection of tackle intentionally selected for the conditions of the day. Early on he caught a Mackinaw (Lake) Trout that measured 16 inches long and weighed about one pound. While fun, this was not the catch that would bring in a prize.


Gitzit Little Tough Guy Jig

Mitch’s first catch in the tournament was caught with the perch colored Gitzit Little Tough Guy Jig, tipped with sucker meat.


The Tug-of-War

Determined, Mitch reset his line and waited patiently for his biggest catch.


“Fishing is a completely hands-on learning experience,” shared Wood. “Yes, you can tell someone how to fish, but it’s nothing like learning the real thing where you dive into your own instincts of knowing which way to move the rod.”


He continued, “Sometimes it’s like a game of tug-of-war. Depending on the direction that your fish is swimming, if a fish decides to make a long run, you have to know to alleviate just enough pressure to take the pressure off the line. Then you try your best to turn the fish’s head toward you so you can start bringing them in. It’s an incredible experience that you can’t really put into words.”


Using his medium-light ice fishing rod equipped with a chartreuse-colored Duckbill Jig tipped with a dead minnow, Mitch caught another fish in 30 feet of water while jigging off the bottom.


As he played that famous game of tug-of-war with his catch, Mitch knew this one was a winner. Measuring at 33 inches long, this catch was enough to secure him 1st place in the tournament for the biggest catch in the Mackinaw catch and release category.


Mitch Wood | JAX Employee

Mitch Wood holding his 1st place-winning Mackinaw (Lake) Trout, measuring at 33 inches long and weighing 15 pounds.


Want to use the same fishing line as Mitch? Check out Trilene 6lb 100% fluorocarbon line by Berkely at your nearest JAX store!


The Art and Craft of Fishing

Saying that Mitch loves fishing is obvious, but where does an award-winning angler go from here?


For Wood, he wants to dive in even deeper to the art and craft of fishing. “Most recently I started learning more about how to tie unique patterns of flies for fly fishing. I hope to eventually submit some of my patterns to Umpqua so that other people can purchase and enjoy them.”


Find the Next Fly Tying Clinic at JAX


There are days when Mitch still can’t believe that he was able to turn his childhood passion into a career. He continues to enjoy teaching classes at JAX, and for those who stop in for a visit, he loves exchanging a good fish tale or two.


Mitch smiled, “I love getting into the competitive aspect of fishing, but at the end of the day, it’s just something you enjoy.”




Learn more about fishing from Mitch and other expert anglers at one of JAX’s FREE classes! Check out our events calendar to find the next class at your local JAX store.


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