For someone who has never been ice fishing, it’s just one of those things that you need to experience to really understand what it’s actually all about. A crew from CNN Espanol – in Minnesota to cover the Super Bowl – came to Waconia to drill some holes and catch some fish. Among their guides, three Waconia High School students who are all in an accelerated Spanish program called College in the Schools (CIS). Erick Valenzuela, Cal Sinclair and Nick Fulford had a lot of explaining to do to the two camera people and the reporter, Raul Saenz.
“They really had no idea what was going on,” Nick Fulford said. “Everything was foreign to them which, I guess, is not surprising.”
The crew is based in Miami but has roots in Puerto Rico and Mexico. They all spoke English while off camera but when the cameras started rolling, they spoke Spanish to each other. Just getting to the ice house was an experience.
Cal Sinclair recalled, “One of the first questions the cameraman asked me was, are we actually going to drive on the ice. When I said, yes, he was like, you guys are crazy!”
“They were really skeptical at first,” Erick Valenzuela added.
The CNN Espanol crew kept asking how they knew that the vehicles wouldn’t fall through. “We told them that the ice is about 18 inches thick and they’d be fine,” Nick said.
The CNN crew was also impressed with the ‘heartiness’ of the Minnesota teenagers.
“They were all decked out in hats, gloves, heavy coats, scarves, they had everything and I was wearing tennis shoes.” Erick laughed. “They asked me if I had layers of socks on and when I said I didn’t, they thought I was kidding.”
Once they finally left In Towne Marina and got to the ice house, even though holes were already drilled, they wanted to show them how to drill a hole in the ice.
“Raul didn’t want to do it because he was afraid of falling through,” Nick explained.
The ice house was fully outfitted, including an underwater camera that was hooked up to a television hanging on the wall.
“A muskie swam through at one point, right next to the camera and it had a bluegill t-boned in its mouth,” Nick said. “One of the crew asked me if that’s one of the rare ones and I said, yea, that’s a rare one. It was a huge muskie.”
Nick hooked a much smaller fish for Raul and then gave him the rod. “He said it was the first fish he had ever caught in his life, so that was pretty cool to be a part of that.”
Others who were helping with the production fileted the fish and cooked them up for the crew.
“They said it was the healthiest thing they’ve had since coming to Minnesota, fried fish,” Erick explained.
Translated, the headline for the story that is on CNN Espanol’s website says: Fishing in ice? It’s possible in Minnesota.
For the students, it was quite a memorable experience, not to mention how memorable it was for the CNN crew.
“It was really cool and I’m glad I did it,” Cal said.
“I liked seeing them working behind the scenes,” Erick added. “It’s cool to look at CNN Espanol’s website and say, hey, that’s us.”