By Christine Bryant
Ice fishing makes Scott Albrecht feel alive, and as someone who was so close to death just a few years back, it’s an adrenaline rush he welcomes every time he bundles up in winter gear and walks out into below-freezing temperatures.
Doctors diagnosed the 33-year-old Grove City resident with a severe case of Crohn’s disease four years ago – causing him to undergo three surgeries in 40 days.
He uses that health scare, however, not only as motivation, but as a way to share his love of ice fishing with those around him.
Albrecht will join the 2016 USA Ice Team as a spotter, traveling to either Poland or Latvia to compete in the World Ice Fishing Championships and becoming the first USA team member to represent the state of Ohio.
“Ice fishing is a very unique sport, like scuba diving or mountain climbing,” the credit union manager at Cardinal Health said. “It should be on your bucket list.”
As a former resident of Michigan, Albrecht’s love for the sport grew when he was a teenager and began ice fishing on Lake St. Clair.
“When I moved from Michigan to Ohio, I thought my ice fishing days were over,” he said. “I quickly realized that I was wrong and that there were others like me who are passionate about the hard water in central Ohio and throughout Ohio.”
As a spotter, Albrecht will play a critical role in the world competition next year.
“Thirteen or so countries send five fishermen and an alternate, who break up into five zones and fish head to head, one man per country, per zone,” he said. “A spotter watches the 13 competitors in the zone, and like a NASCAR driver, receives a constant flow of information. We, too, provide information on who is catching fish in the zone to the fisherman so he can make adjustments before the other teams do.”
Drive by Grove City High School in the mornings, and you’ll likely see Albrecht training in his signature red, white and blue sweatbands for this important duty on the team.
“Training for a semi-Olympic sport for me is very serious, and not all anglers take this approach,” he said. “I run four miles in the morning and watch an hour of tape at night.”
Next winter, he will get together with team members to practice fishing and spotting in international styles of ice fishing competition.
“Staying in overall good shape is important in getting to the best spots before the other teams do,” Albrecht said.
For those who want to check ice fishing off their bucket lists, Albrecht recommends going to www.iceprofromohio.com where visitors can check out upcoming seminars, videos and sponsor information.