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High School Fishing teams compete in 1st event of season

First place finishers at the first tournament of the season were Brainerd Warriors Austin Neyens (left), boat captain Jeremy Neyens and Will Sunde. Submitted photo1 / 2
The teams who competed at the first of five high school fishing tournaments this season stand at Quarterdeck Resort on Gull Lake. Submitted photo2 / 2

The Brainerd Warrior fishing team competed at the first tournament of the season June 11 on Gull Lake in Nisswa.

The tournament was the first of five fishing tournaments taking place on area lakes culminating in a Tournament of Champions event taking place in September on an unannounced lake, where a 2017 Lund boat will be the grand prize.

According to team captain Jason Bahr, "Competing on Gull Lake this past weekend were 37 teams of high school anglers competing for a top five finish to qualify for the Tournament of Champions final event. Teams were from Lakeville, Grand Rapids, Pequot Lakes, Minnetonka, Brainerd and Crosby-Ironton."

The first-place team finished with total fish caught weighing 18 pounds 2 ounces. Amongst all the teams, over 300 pounds of largemouth bass were caught and immediately released during Sunday's tournament. Bahr said everyone who fished caught at least one fish.

This is a brand new tournament series, hosted by the Brainerd Warriors, according to Bahr. Five teams from each of the tournaments have a chance to advance to the Tournament of Champions.

Of all the area teams competing, four of the five from the first outing were from Brainerd. The other team was from Lakeville.

The top five teams include:

First: Austin Neyens and Will Sunde, boat captain Jeremy Neyens

Second: Nehemiah Glenn and Solomon Glenn; boat captain unnamed

Third: Noah Peterson and Tom Annakala; boat captain Chuck Fields

Fourth: Tyler and Cody Czech; boat captain Ryan Czech

Fifth: Joe Stolski and Alex Stirewalt; boat captain Tom Whitehead

Next tournament is July 16 on Lake Minnewaska in Glenwood.

Local youths are also headed to national fishing contests this week in Tennessee.

Tyler Bahr and Troy Peterson along with Jason Bahr as boat captain are headed to the BASS Junior Championship and two high schoolers Gabe Clough and Logan Waidelich along with boat captain Mike Peterson will compete at the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship.

For the fourth consecutive year, the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship presented by Dick's Sporting Goods will be held on Kentucky Lake at Paris, Tenn.

The national championship will take place June 22-24.

In addition, the Junior Bassmaster Championship will be June 20-21, on Carroll County's 1,000 acre recreational lake in nearby Huntingdon, Tenn. That event includes teams of youths aged 7 to 13 representing state organizations within the BASS Nation. The Junior Bassmasters qualify to fish the national championship through state-run championships.

Team growth

The Brainerd Warriors fishing team again gained ground this year now at 130 youth involved. Bahr said they added an additional growth opportunity to anglers this year. The Ultimate Youth League takes 40 students and 20 boaters every other Monday to a body of water. The students are introduced to a new boat captain each time to offer them a new learning opportunity. Bahr said it's not just the youths learning, but boat captains have been learning from the aspiring anglers too.

The new venture also allows anglers to earn points on the size and species of fish, with added points for each new species of fish featured each time. Top point takers can earn prizes. Bahr said this is really expanding the fishing knowledge of all involved. Bahr notes that all fish are measured and then immediately released.

The first place team in first week was boat captain Matt Biever and youths Jacob Thompson and Aiden Penners. They weighed a bag of five bass.