I have wanted to write this article for some time now, as I kept hearing about Striker Ice suits saving two of our contestants’ lives. I have known about Striker ice suits for some time now, and to be honest, shame on me for not getting one sooner. These suits will without a doubt save a life, as you’ll read in this post. In fact, in support of Striker, and their awesome product, you will see the WPA Hardwater staff and I wearing Striker suits this upcoming season, because we believe safety comes first.
Raised in the Butler, PA area there were very limited ice fishing tournaments held in the area. I am also not aware of any ice fishing tournament series existing prior to WPA Hardwater. As a result, our exposure to the latest and greatest technology and equipment has been limited to what we see in magazines, or watch on YouTube videos. WPA Hardwater plans on changing these old ways, and bringing ice fishing in Western PA and surrounding areas back up to date with the latest and greatest technology.
To go back a little bit, the first WPA Hardwater event was held on Lake Arthur in Butler, PA in 2016. We had teams coming from all over Pennsylvania, and surrounding states, including multiple teams from New York. I noticed immediately that all of the teams in NY were wearing these ultra-sharp, grey and black ice fishing suites. I personally had never seen one before in person, but quickly noticed and recognized the “SI” logo on the front of their jackets and knew immediately what these suits were. These were Striker floating ice suits. I was aware of the high quality product Striker was producing from ads on social media and some online reading, but when you see 10+ friends all from the same general area, all wearing the same brand suit, you know something’s up.
Let’s fast forward a bit. In 2018, I heard small talk about one of our teams fishing an event (not a WPA Hardwater event) and falling through the ice. Part of this story relayed how had they not been wearing Striker suits, they more than likely would not be alive to share their story. I made a few calls, and did some digging to found out who the team was – some of our competitors – Nick Glosser and Jeffery Snyder. As a result, I was able to reach out to Nick via phone and talk to him for well over an hour about fishing, his tournament career, and his daytime job as a First Mate on the Thrillseeker which runs salmon charters out of Olcott, NY.
Nick has been ice fishing since he was 16 years-old, and has competed in multiple levels of ice fishing tournaments throughout the U.S. since 2012. Nick qualified for, and fished the in, the Midwest Open tournament in 2016, finishing 22nd out of 150 teams. In 2018, he and partner, Chad Beale of Freeport, PA took home the title of WPA Hardwater champions. Nick shared his story with me, in hopes that his story may keep another fisherman safe on the ice.
While fishing an ice fishing tournament at Waneta Lake, NY in 2017, with his then partner Jeffrey Snyder, Nick and Jeff could see several gas pockets holding in random locations throughout the ice as they were walking. The ice was 6”-8” thick across the lake. Nick and Jeff were able to walk to their fishing spot by zig-zagging to avoid the gas pockets, making it to their target spot without any problems. Shortly after sitting down to fish, they heard a commotion from across the lake. Jeff turned around first, and realized someone had fallen through. He immediately dropped his fishing rod and took off running to help, Nick following behind. As they were both running across the lake, Jeff stepped one of the ice pockets, about 50 yards away from where they had been fishing, and fell through the ice. Nick, tried to stop, but slid across the black ice into the now open water.
Both Nick and Jeff were wearing Striker ice suits which kept them above the water, never sinking below their heads. Nick immediately remembered watching an ice safety video, and was able to lay flat on top of the water and kick himself back out of the ice within seconds. Jeff was shook up and panicking, but still above the water in thanks to his Striker suit. Nick was able to maneuver himself around the open water to assist Jeff out of the water. Once both Jeff and Nick were out of the water, they wasted no time and immediately began running back towards the individual that had already fallen through, still about 200 yards away. Meanwhile, a group of individuals on shore had witnessed the fisherman falling through, and were able to help the individual out of the water as well.
Nick and Jeff both credit their lives to Striker and their float suit. Nick said even when he was in the water, his suit made him feel like he was bobbing like a pop bottle. Since this incident, Nick has spread the word about his story, and how Striker products helped save their lives that day. Nick continues to ice fish and compete in ice fishing events across the U.S., and will compete again with us at WPA Hardwater in 2019.
I would like to personally thank Nick for sharing this story with us, as well as extend thanks to Striker for supporting the upcoming 2019 season as a sponsor. As part of this sponsorship, we’ll be giving away Striker products at our events, so come fish with us, and don’t forget your Striker Float Suit!
If you are interested in a Striker ice suit, please visit their website at https://strikerbrands.com/ and check out the full selection of styles, including Ladies styles
You can purchase your Striker suit directly from Striker or through another one of our wonderful sponsors, FishUSA
Follow WPA Hardwater on Facebook!