Minnesota Junior Bassmasters Invitational Tournament
Forty two anglers, ages 11-17, competed in an exciting 8 hour tournament on Forest Lake from 6:00 am to 2:00 pm on June 20. We had 28 junior anglers in the 11-14 age group and 14 in the 15-17 age group. The participating anglers and teams came from KANSAS, MISSOURI, INDIANA, MICHIGAN, WISCONSIN, SOUTH DAKOTA AND MINNESOTA. The top two junior anglers in both the 11-14 and 15-17 age groups from each state that participated, now advance to the JUNIOR BASSMASTERS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP tournament on July 19th in Missouri on Smithville Lake. This was an official 8 hour, artificial bait only tournament format with 2 kids per boat, randomly drawn and assigned to a boat captain. The 21 boat captains were the adult tournament boat drivers from many of the seven state federations represented at the tournament and the Minnesota BASS Federation. The adult boat captains drove the boats and were responsible only for safety and boat maneuvering when needed and to operate the big motor.
Many of the states came early in the week to pre-fish. The patterns prior to the tournament were jig and craws and Senko's. On the day of the tournament, we had clear skies, light winds in the morning and 58 degrees. Many of the junior anglers had their limits by 8:30 am. As the day progressed, the winds picked up to 15 mph out of the south. It warmed up to the mid 80's and the fishing became more difficult. The jig and craw bite had turned off. The anglers caught most of their fish on Senko's and Chompers. Many of the anglers said they had a late morning/early afternoon bite.
The weigh in was conducted by Vern Wagner, the Minnesota B.A.S.S. Federation Conservation Director. Each participant and boater was interviewed on stage and had a chance to talk about their day. The boaters talked about the enthusiasm, determination, and sportsmanship of the junior anglers they were with that day. The fishing got harder and the junior anglers fished even harder. There were a total of 128 fish caught, for a total of 198 pounds, 6 oz of largemouth bass in the tournament. There were eight 5 fish limits in the 11-14 age group and nine 5 fish limits in the 15-17 age group. There were only four contestants that did not weigh in any fish. All anglers caught fish that day, but many were below the 12 inch minimum. The “Top Hook” Award was won by Brad Charboneau of Michigan who weighed in an impressive 12 lbs of fish (in the 15-17 age group). Dave Saterbak of Minnesota won the 11-14 age group with a 9 lb 12 oz bag. In addition to the individual competition, there was a state team competition won by the Minnesota state team with an impressive weight of 37 pounds 11oz. Missouri came in 2nd with 33 pounds 4oz. Indiana came in 3rd with 31 pounds 10oz. Michigan and Wisconsin tied for 4th and came in with 25 pounds 6 oz. South Dakota came in 5th with 23 pounds even. Kansas came in with 22 pounds 1 oz. Big bass honors for the day went to Randy Barrett of Minnesota in the 11-14 age group with a 3 pound largemouth and Chris Linns of Wisconsin in the 15-17 age group with 3 pound 7 oz largemouth.
There was also a tournament for the alternates held on Big Marine that day which had a shorter format. Ryan Rhodeamel from Indiana in the 11-14 age group won with a weight of 1 pound 11oz and AJ Dick, also from Indiana, in the 15-17 age group won with a weight of 7 pounds 1 oz.
The Minnesota State Team members who advance to the JUNIOR BASSMASTERS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP are Dave Saterbak of the BASSIN BOYS club in the 11-14 age group and Tyler Helland of the MOUND FINGERLINGS club in the 15-17 age group. The event was well attended by parents, friends and spectators who enjoyed watching the weigh in and listening to the kids talk about their tournament experience. Todd Saterbak, Minnesota B.A.S.S. Federation Youth Director, summed it up perfectly: “We’ve been working on hosting this event for the past year and wanted to provide these great kids a first class tournament to give them the best possible circumstances in which to compete and to experience a professional level tournament event. The Tournament Director was Al Valencour, the Minnesota B.A.S.S. Federation vice-president. Al ran this event just like he has run our state tournaments and did an outstanding job. I was very proud of the conduct of our board members, fellow youth directors and the boaters. This tournament was a first class event from the start. These kids got to experience the thrill and excitement of competing at a higher level and I know this event will be remembered for years to come!"
There were numerous donations that made the day really special for the kids. In particular, we were honored to receive funding from the BRYAN KERCHAL MEMORIAL FUND.
RAY AND RONNIE KERCHAL ESTABLISHED THE BRYAN KERCHAL MEMORIAL FUND IN DECEMBER OF 1994. THEIR SON, BRYAN KERCHAL, WAS THE FIRST AND STILL IS THE ONLY FEDERATION ANGLER EVER TO WIN A BASSMASTERS CLASSIC. AT THE AGE OF 23, HE WON THE 1994 NATIONAL FEDERATION TOURNAMENT. IN JULY OF THAT YEAR, HE WON THE BASSMASTERS CLASSIC. DURING THE CLASSIC, WHEN HE CAUGHT A FISH, HE BLEW THE FISH WHISTLE THAT ALL THE JUNIOR ANGLERS RECEIVED AT THIS TOURNAMENT. BRYAN DIED IN A PLANE CRASH FOUR MONTHS LATER. THE MEMORIAL FUND HAS DONATED FUNDS AROUND THE COUNTRY DEDICATED TO KIDS AND FISHING. $2500.00 WAS DONATED FOR THIS TOURNAMENT TO MAKE IT A GREAT EVENT.
Thanks to COLLEEN CROMPTON FROM CENEX OIL COMPANY, a co-sponsor of the tournament who provided 25 gallons of oil for the boaters, 100 hats and juice bottles for all anglers, boaters, and workers and shirts for all the junior anglers.
GARY WICK OF GARY'S CUSTOM ROD AND REEL
Special thanks to
GARY & VICKI KENNEDY AT TIMM'S MARINA for hosting the event. They have a great boat launch facility on lake 3 and can be reached at 651-464-3890.
BRUCE ILLIES FROM TEAM AMBASSADOR for donation of sandwiches, and pop for all the anglers, boaters and workers.
JT COLOSIMO, the North Region Federation Representative, and JOHN COOK FROM TEAM AMBASSADOR for helping gather a majority of these donations.
The MINNESOTA B.A.S.S. FEDERATION MEMBERS and the participating states boaters who donated their time and boats to make this event what it was.
THE PICTURE PLACE for photography of the tournament.
More information and pictures of the tournament can be found on the Minnesota Bass Federation web site. www.mnbf.org
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