“Fishing for others is why we’re all here,” said Scott Bonnema, Zimmerman, on stage at the sixth annual MN Fishing Challenge held Sunday, May 31 on Gull Lake. He fished with daughter Katie. Contestant Pete Hein, Princeton, fishing with his dad Paul said, “We’re all having fun catching fish, but it’s more fun to see the positive impact we’re making in the lives of the guys and gals in MN Adult & Teen Challenge.
The sixth annual MN Fishing Challenge presented by Mills Fleet Farm was a multi-species fishing tournament and major fund-raiser by fishermen for the statewide MN Adult & Teen Challenge programs in Brainerd, Duluth, Minneapolis and Rochester. Residents performed a live concert on Cragun’s Resort beach and shared stories of their drug and alcohol addictions and the progress and healing taking place in their lives.
Fishing results were impressive, but the pre-tournament fund-raising efforts of the 115 teams set all-time records. Highlighted by the Cloquet team of Rich Brummer and Stu Nelson with a record $47,000 raised, teams turned in more than $220,000. Jeremy Smith, Baxter and Brian Miller, Eden Prairie, raised $37,000 for second place. Sam Anderson, Inver Grove Heights, working with sons Zac and Max, were the third place fund-raisers with $13,000. Den and Mike Pluimer, Breezy Point raised $9,000 for fourth.
Every weather report called for all-day storms and rain. However, during the Friday evening rules meeting, Lynette Sherber prayed and asked God to provide good weather for the fishermen. He answered, as the rumbles and approximately three inches of rain during the night slowed to a drizzle by mid-morning, and held-off from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It was one of the best spring fishing days and a calm, dry weigh-in ceremony.
Winners of the Nor-Son northern pike division were J.R. Cooper and Cindy Gibbs, Brainerd. Their tournament-limit of one pike weighed 9.37 pounds.
The Pillager team of Jeff and Nick Hummel won the Navillus Land Company walleye division with one walleye, also the Full Throttle biggest walleye, at 5.48 pounds.
Brothers Steve (Princeton) and Tony Ward, Zimmerman, took top honors in both the Nor-Son panfish division with three crappies weighing 4.44 pounds, and the Lindner Media/Lindner’s Angling Edge TV bass division with three bass weighing 12.01 pounds.
The Sportech mixed bag division (one each pike, bass, walleye and panfish) first place team with 11.81 pounds was Jesse and Travis Romine, Detroit Lakes. Two teams in each division – not in the top 10 – won Sea Foam Second Chance awards consisting of a bucket of Sea Foam and Lindner Media products.
Dozens of special prizes were awarded including a trip for Troy Sonnenfeld, Stacy, and daughter Danielle Stanley to Canada’s Witch Bay Camp (witchbay.com) on Lake of the Woods. The early-bird entry prize of a Pasha Lake Cabins (pashalake.com) fishing week (north of Thunder Bay, Ontario) was won by the team of Chris Biermaier, Merrifield and Chuck Eggert, Brainerd. Every youngster entered from kindergarten to 12th grade won significant prizes, including five Mathews bows, donated by Flatline Outdoors.
The mission of MN Adult & Teen Challenge (mntc.org) is to assist teens and adults to gain freedom from chemical addictions and other life-controlling problems by addressing their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.
Go to www.Mntc.org