Local charity, Fishing for Life, will host its annual ice fishing contest Holes for Heroes. The contest is open to the public but supports veterans of our armed services and families of current military deployed overseas.
One of the more unique elements of the event is the Hole of Honor where a live broadcast via Internet brings overseas service member and their family together in our special "Hole of Honor" tent. Last year 35 military families connected to a parent, son or daughter live, via this internet stream.
All proceeds from this event serve the JROTC Cadets in Minneapolis. This great organization directly helps kids in inner-city who are making decisions to participate in the inner city Military and straighten out their lives. With over 1300 attendees in its 3rd year in 2014, this event is well on its way to being one of the best ice events in the upper Midwest. Great food, great prizes and a great way to say thanks to our military!
To register follow this link: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2015-holes-for-heroes-ice-fishing-tournament-tickets-12918243815
A few years ago I shot a deer and tied it to my trailer hitch rack for the ride home from deer camp. I snapped a picture and posted it to Facebook where one of my friends, a decorated Special Forces soldier, made the comment, "If you don't know knots, tie lots". He was right; I was busted. I still tie knots with the skill and finesse of a pre-schooler. It's embarrassing to admit as a guy who spends most of his free time hunting or fishing, my knowledge of knots doesn't go far beyond the Fisherman Knot and Palomar Knot.
To make matters worse, one of my good friends is a local guy named Steve Pennaz. Steve was the host of North American Fisherman TV and the creator of the popular segment, "Knot Wars". Not only does Steve know how to tie knots, he knows what knots work with different baits, lines, presentations, barometric pressure patterns etc...you get the idea. Last year we were trolling for walleye and Steve suggested I change baits. Not problem as I cut off my Rapala and grabbed a new color. In my defense, it was cold, windy, and rainy and the pressure to perform in front of the "Knot War" guy was on... about 5 minutes later Steve asked, "Is everything alright over there?". He showed me a new knot that's like the Fisherman Knot but instead of wrapping the line from the eyelet out you actually start about an inch from the eyelet and wrap it towards the hook. It's easy to tie and strong. Steve can almost tie it no handed he's so good!
So armed with my new knot (I don't remember the name) I headed to the St Croix River with a couple friends to chase smallies. I used the knot to tie on a Rapala Skitter Prop and proceeded to catch 20-25 smallies. About 3 hours into the day I hooked into a nice muskie in the 42" range. I did a decent job fighting the fish with light tackle and had it close to the boat and next to the net when she broke off. I looked at the line and there was evidence that it didn't break off but my knot had slipped.
To this day, I still suck at knots! So, in 2015 when most people will resolve to lose weight or drink less, I'm committing to learning how to tie knots!
If you have any suggestions, please let me know in the comments below.
If you miss Steve Pennaz and his Knot Wars, check out his Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/MANvsLAKE or visit his website http://www.lakecommandos.com/. He has new shows of his hit series Lake Commandos, airing on Pursuit Channel starting in January.
An armada of modern kayaks built for fishing slipped silently into the moving waters of the Mississippi River north of Clearwater early Saturday morning, as some 40 members of the Minnesota Kayak Fishing Association gathered to compete in a friendly competition based on the successful hooking and releasing of Smallmouth Bass.
Anglers worked shorelines, riffles, pools and island edges as their kayaks enabled them to deftly ply the moving and sometimes very shallow waters.
Born out of sealskin-covered craft first used for hunting and subsistence living by Aleut, Inuit, and Yupik peoples of the sub-Arctic and other northern regions, modern fishing kayaks are no longer the very tippy craft of yesteryear.
Todays kayak are built from modern polymers and other space-age materials and are designed like small fishing battleships, ready to take on any river, lake or ocean. New designs and improvements have allowed even wary skeptics the chance to counter the popularity of the motorized fishing boat in an affordable fashion.
Affordability has been the key to the success of these boats and the crowds have joined in on fishing tournaments and and kayak fishing clubs around the country.
The Minnesota Kayak Fishing Association is no different. It boasts nearly 500 hundred active members that gather for weekly outings and tournaments. Members meet to share ideas on fishing, rigging kayaks, and learn the latest innovations in rod holders, depth finders, trolling motors, downriggers and more.
Dan Meer, owner of Clearawters Outfitting Company, host of this years’ Bronzeback Classic Fishing Tournament said, “I’ve seen a rise in sales and rentals of fishing kayaks this year. Kayaking allows everyone to get into the sport at affordable prices compared to traditional fishing boats and motors. It’s a very quiet and gentle sport that has no boundaries. We have first-timers that get so addicted to kayaks that they enthusiastically talk the sport up, getting friends and family involved.”
This tournaments’ anglers, who traveled to the Mississippi from all over the Midwest, cast their lures in hopes to cash in on a host of prizes that included rods, reels, kayak gear and cash prizes. Two new kayaks were given away to winning anglers.
Tournament anglers met early Saturday morning at Clearwater Outfitting Company in Clearwater, loading kayaks onto the shuttle trailers under dim street lights. They were then transported to a starting point upstream to float the 9 miles down river in search of their three biggest fish of the day. Each fish was carefully measured, then photographed on cell phones. Images were e-mailed to the contest headquarters after the fish were released back into the river.
Tournament Recap by Paul M Hansen
Pictures by Mitch Kezar, www.kezarphoto.com
Article by Mitch Petrie, SPECIAL TO STARTRIBUNE.COM :
Wild coach Mike Yeo, backed by players Erik Haula, Keith Ballard, Matt Cooke and Justin Fontaine, took to the waters of Lake Minnetonka in the first “Mike Yeo Classic” bass tournament. The event, put on by the Minnesota Wild Foundation and Sponsored by Gander Mountain, is a fundraiser for the Angel Foundation and the Miracles of Mitch Foundation. Both organizations assist individuals and families in need of financial support as they fight cancer.
Teammates and Alumni from the MN Wild regroup after a day on Lake Minnetonka
Fans had the opportunity to bid online to be in one of seven boats. Others were drawn from a pool of season-ticket holders who submitted trophy shots of their fish while wearing Wild gear.
“The event came together quickly as part of our commitment to the community.” Explained Coach Yeo. “We’ve supported The Angel Foundation and Miracles of Mitch Foundation in the past and this is a great opportunity help raise awareness and money for both these great charities.” he continued. When asked about his support of cancer charities Coach Yeo explained, “Most of us have been effected by cancer in our lives and supporting families in this struggle is very important for me.” .
Anglers were competing for the best combined bag of five fish. “Our boat had lots of action and we caught tons of fish but couldn't find the big ones.” Said Yeo.
Wild Alumni Darby Hendrickson fished with Coach Yeo, season ticket holder Kurt Casby and his daughter Nicole. “It was a great experience to bring everyone together to talk hockey, fish, and raise money for some great charities.” said Hendrickson. “We caught our limit of bass but won’t be in the money.” He continued.
Both Yeo and Hendrickson expect the event to grow. “We started with six boats and a great sponsor in Gander Mountain and next year hope to grow the event to 25 boats”. Said Yeo.
Team leader Jason Zucker and guests Scott and Nancy Bonnema and from Zimmerman, MN. show off two bass over 3.5 lbs each. The fish on the left was the biggest fish of the day. Nancy won the opportunity to fish by submitted a picture of her in a Wild jersy holding a trophy bass.
Results for the event were as follows (All boats caught a 5-fish limit):
1. Team Justin Fontaine : 13.42 lbs
2. Team Matt Cooke : 12.92 lbs
3. Team Jason Zucker : 12.84 lbs
4. Team Erik Haula : 10.14 lbs
5. Team Keith Ballard : 8.04 lbs
6. Team Mike Yeo : 6.14 lbs
Biggest fish of the day honors went to Team Zucker with a 3.70 lbs bass.
Today I hand over the reins of my blog to Edina Senior/Intern Extraordinare, Seth Bartodziej….
At the end of May, Edina seniors have the opportunity to do a two week project or internship on a topic of interest. I wanted to do an internship with a company in the outdoor industry. I met Mitch Petrie, owner of Muddy Boot Outdoors, through a friend of my father. I enjoy watching fishing and hunting shows on TV and wanted to have a behind the scenes look at the outdoor-recreation industry. Two months after laying out my plan I started my May-Term Project as intern for Muddy Boot Outdoors.
One of my projects was to write a blog post on an outdoor experience. Mitch suggested I try out bowfishing and relate the experience in the blog. I know the sport is growing in popularity and have seen videos but have never tried it before. I was up for the adventure.
Carp are an invasive species that reproduce rapidly and if not taken care of will take over a body of water. They cause damage to our native fish species including our state fish, the walleye. Carp eat walleye eggs and cause a huge decrease in population in native game fish. When they forage they disturb sediment at the bottom of the lake that contains pollutants like phosphorous and nitrogen. Once disturbed these pollutants fertilize algae and weeds that negatively affect water quality. We also targeted bowfin (dogfish), though not invasive, they're classifed as a rough fish and can reek havic of fish beds as well. As a bonus, the sport is fun, enjoyed by people of all ages, and easily accessible in Minnesota’s many lakes and streams. How often is it you can have fun while helping the ecosystem of our local lakes, streams, and pond? Some may ask why are you killing them for no reason…it’s clear to me there’s a strong conservation argument to remove carp for lakes and enlisting sportsmen who volunteer for the task makes sense.
Our adventure started at Lake Independence MN, which coincidently is infested with carp and struggles with severe algae blooms each open-water season. When we arrived the conditions were not in our favor. Mitch got a shot off at a monster carp, probably 25 lbs; unfortunately he missed him and by the time I had a shot the carp was long gone. We perched on top of a bridge and scoped out the water for a while. After several unproductive minutes we decided to try a calmer and shallower spot. On our way it started to rain heavier but it didn’t matter as our spirits were high in anticipation of success.
Mitch led the charge down a rain-slicked embankment and through the woods to a creek he had told me about. As we walked Mitch told me the plan and what to expect. I took the lead along the creek in hopes of seeing a trophy swimming in the water. We got about 30 feet down the trail when Mitch spotted the first one. We stopped and tried to get a clear shot at him but never did. The fish spooked and swam upstream and we quickly made chase. We came up to a clearing and Mitch had a plan, there was a bridge about 50 yards up and I was to sneak ahead and post on the bridge. Mitch would walk on the bank and throw rocks and branches to push them towards me. The plan was perfect but unfortunately no carp swam past. Apparently the fish were able to sneak by in a deep channel in the creek.
We decided we should try one last spot a few hundred yards down the creek. As we approached the spot I had the bow in hand and crept down hoping spook any fish that might be near. I spotted a huge carp lying in a grass bed no more than 3 feet away from me. I drew back, but the fish saw me draw and swam away. At this point I was wondering how we were ever going to get one.
We continued to creep downstream where 50 yards later we found the mother lode of carp. There were so many, maybe 50, that I thought if I shot into them I couldn’t miss. Sure enough when I draw back the bow and shot, I missed! Needless to say I was disappointed. We saw a fish off to our left and Mitch took a shot and scored a huge dog fish; it weighed around 10 pounds. We pulled it up on to the shore and snapped this quick picture:
Mitch Petrie with a 10 pound bowfin (dog fish)
I was so excited watching it flop in the grass and when I remembered Mitch was still behind me shooting… As I turned around he had our first carp of the day hooked up. A few seconds later we had two on the shore! Seconds later, I see a big bull headed straight at me and draw back and release…it’s a hit! I couldn’t believe that I finally had one on but didn’t know what to do next. Mitch helped me pull the big boy in and congratulated me on my first carp.
Seth holds up his first carp taken with bow and arrow.
We wasted no time getting back to the shooting spree. At this point we realized the carp were stuck between a dam of trees and a big drain pipe feeding into the creek. As we moved upstream I saw a dogfish. I pulled back and wham, fish on! It was my first dogfish with the bow only seconds after my first carp. But the day wasn’t over… Mitch headed down stream to the dam and I started up top and walked in the water down towards him, hoping to spook a few him. It worked; he shot two before my drive was complete. I waded across the water to a little grass patch that had a back water cove where they were really loaded up. Sure enough I put a shot on a nice one, right in the back and brought on shore. After another half hour, we wrapped up our experience with a total of eight fish; four carp, four dogfish.
Author Seth Bartodziej and his mess of carp & bowfin (dogfish)
An experience like this has me hooked on bowfishing; I can’t wait for my next chance to go again!
For more information on bowfishing, check out the Minnesota DNR website.