On June 30, junior anglers from around the State of Minnesota came to compete in the 5th Minnesota Junior State Championship on Lake Washington. 47 junior anglers from 6 different Minnesota Junior BASS Federation clubs participated in this year,s championship tournament. The participating clubs were the Fairmont Junior club, Red Lake Bass Busters, Bassinators, Gopher Junior Club, Bassin Boys, and Granite City Jr Club. Junior anglers were paired together with an angler from a different junior club. Their adult boaters were from the clubs that attended the state tournament and members of the Board of Directors from the Minnesota Bass Federation Nation.
Push off was at 6:00am that morning out of Westwood Marina. The junior anglers were greeted with clouds, moderate winds, and temperatures in the lower 60’s. The clouds were a factor till 10:30 that morning and then the sun and hot weather arrived. The majority of Jr anglers concentrated on the bulrushes, lily pad fields, and docks. They were all catching fish, but the key was finding fish around the12” minimum length that was required. Talking with many of the Jr. Contender’s and their boat drivers after the tournament, the bite was not consistent on any one key pattern for a majority of the junior anglers.
The weigh-in site was the Westwood Marina on Lake Washington. Parents, friends and guests were on the docks and shores watching the boats arrive for the 2:00pm check in time. After all anglers were checked in, the weigh in began. The Jr. angler’s from each boat were brought up to the scales. Vern Wagner, the Minnesota Bass Federation Nation Conservation Director was a boater that day and the MC of the weigh in. Vern talked with each contestant about their day on the water and their techniques. The leader board changed several times during the weigh-in for top weight and Big Bass for each age group. The awards ceremony was very exciting because the weights were so close in both age groups.
The TOP HOOK award went to Derek Jacobson of the Bassin Boys (15-18 age group) with a weight of 11.32 pounds. This was for the best overall weight from the tournament from either age group. At the pre-tournament meeting it was announced that Derek would be 19 before National tournament cut off date, and if he won he could not advance the Junior World Championship. The 2nd place winner in the older age group would advance the JWC if Derek won his age group. Derek just wanted to fish and end his Junior Bass career with a bang. He did just that. Best weight for the tournament and Top Hook. The Top Hook award is a memorial award in memory of Tom “GRAMPA” Nelson who passed away 3 1/2 years ago after a battle with cancer. Tom’s wife Carol and their children were there that day to present the Top Hook award to Derek.
1st place for both age groups were announced. Cody Sieben (11-14 age group) from the Gopher Jr. club with a weight of 8.30 pounds and Derek Jacobson (15-18 age group) from the BASSIN BOYS with a weight of 11.32 pounds. Cody Sieben advances to the 2007 Junior World Championship.
2nd place went to Mark Shirley (11-14 age group) from the Granite City Jr club with a weight of 7.02 pounds and Tom Gomez (15-18 age group) from the Bassin Boys with a weight of 9.42 pounds. Tom Gomez advances to the 2007 Junior World Championship in place of Derek Jacobson .
3rd place went Ben Brown (11-14 age group) from the Fairmont Jr. Club with a weight of 6.56 pounds and Aaron Jorgensen (15-18 age group) from the Fairmont Jr.Club with a weight of 8.84 pounds.
Big BASS of the tournament went to Ben Brown (11-14 age group) with a 4.08 pound Bass and Aaron Jorgensen (15-18 age group) with a 3.84 pound Bass.
In the inaugural Top Club Team award, Gopher Junior Bass took honors with a combined weight of 22.96 pounds. Team members were Lucas Lindgren, Cody Sieben, Matt Veech Don and Rick Brenhoffer.
There were a total of 164 largemouth bass brought to the scales that day with a total of weight of 227.58 pounds for the tournament. This is the largest creel in the tournament’s 5 year history. The bass were released back into the lake.
Tom and Cody along with their families now advance to the 2007 Jr. World Championship on February 17th on Lake Logan in Alabama. They will be paired with another Jr. Angler from a different state for a two day event. Their boat driver will be one of the 2007 Bassmaster Classic contenders. They will fish a one day pro- am with that angler and then the next day the boys will be on their own. They have an adventure ahead of them that they will not forget. Good luck to our National Team, Tom and Cody.
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