What has 40 fishing rods,19 hats, 28 pairs of legs and catches fish? How about the first-ever Urban/Res bass fishing challenge! Fourteen kids from the Red Lake Reservation paired with four City kids climbed into 8 boats for a day of fishing. Immediately after for the next five hours spinnerbaits, Senkos and worms were being chucked at weedlines, lily pads and reed beds.
Taking kids out for a day of fishing, likely isn’t earth shattering or unique. But to each of those kids it could be life changing. To make the Urban/Res challenge work, eight Bass Tournament fishermen brought their boats up to Lake George, near Itasca State Park. The brainchild of Red Lake's, Darwin Sumner and Twin Cites angler Jeff Nelson. Camp Confidence provided a picnic lunch site and an area restaurant (Bad to the Bone) served up a top notch Bar BQ lunch. Big bass were caught, trophy’s awarded and stomachs got filled. Area sponsors provided a small truck load of prizes, so everyone went away a winner.
An enterprising 12 yr.old spent most of his time with me trying to figure out a way to take control of my Ranger Bass Boat for a spin around the Lake. Hello! That’s wasn’t happening! Another young woman explained that Black and Brown Bears were part of her clan and not hunted but frequently seen in the area. If you look closely, these kids are much more alike then different. The differences aren’t any sort of significant issues; some cultural issues might be different, but these are what make each of us who we are. We all had a great time, many fish got to ride in a boat and the kids got to hook some big ones. Bass being a discriminating species appear to prefer fiberglass boats over their Walleye and Musky aluminum boat counterparts (I made sure to fill the kids on this!) Also they prefer artificial baits, the more expensive the better. $35.00 Japanese crankbaits are a favorite. Kids can learn a lot by fishing with me.
Minnesota is home to a growing number of junior bass fishing clubs. The way it works is: Bass Clubs sponsor a group of youth and teach them the sport. Stuff like this may not change the world or start a movement, but I suspect that for each of these kids, for a moment they experienced a joy that can't come from a video game or keyboard. If you want more information on Jr. Bass Clubs go to www.mnbfn.org or www.mnbass.org