Make no mistake, fishing tournaments these days are no longer reserved for “adults only,” those grown-up anglers who consider competitively chasing fish serious business. Nowadays, even at elementary to high school levels, young anglers are battling big bass and waging walleye wars—to some as important as the big game under Friday night lights.

Angler-Young-Angler (AYA) has for many years been leading the charge to encourage youth to be active in the sport of fishing and competitive angling. The AYA has a series of fun, yet competitive, events at various freshwater venues across the Midwest and Canada. AYA tournaments, such as the recent AYA Championship, were established by the legendary Lund Boat company to foster an environment of traditional fun-fishing, alongside an educational and competitive atmosphere.

And what better playground to hunt the elusive walleye than Canada’s storied Lake of the Woods? On Saturday, Aug. 24, 16 regional winning teams had the opportunity to compete in the 2013 AYA International Championship in the scenic host city of Kenora, Ontario. The AYA tournament format pairs two young anglers and an adult with a professional Lund fishing guide.

At the end of a terrific day of fishing, first place went to the team from Winnipeg Sport & Leisure, guided by Cory Toker. The anglers captured the title after weighing in a total of 42.91 pounds, with six sizeable walleyes. Team members Danny and Eden Toth, and Grace Cudmore provided the winning walleyes, good for a trip for four to Walt Disney World. “I just started crying I was so happy,” said AYA angler Eden Toth. “My dad (Dann Toth) and I have done AYA for a couple years, and it’s our first time making it to the championships. It was amazing.”

Although prior to the event, team member Grace Cudmore had broken her left arm playing soccer, she possessed the magic touch and managed to reel in quite a few big walleyes. Danny Toth shared that pink-and-white knuckleball jigs were the other secret to their success. Guide Cory Toker said, “I’m really happy for the gang. They fished their hearts out and caught some nice big fish. It was a great team effort.”

Putting in another great fishing day was the second place team sponsored by Hoot’s Sports in Perham, Minn. They caught a total of 36.82 pounds of walleyes. Guided by Norm Klopak, young anglers Tristan and Mailia Groff and father, David Groff, won a dream fishing trip to Jackson’s Lodge & Outposts on Lac du Bonnet, Manitoba.

“The Angler & Young Angler Fishing Tournaments are as rewarding for the adults who donate their time as it is exciting for the kids who fish it,” says Lund Boats walleye tournament pro Mark Brumbaugh. “From start to finish, every kid involved is excited and ready to catch fish.”

Great to know the next generation of anglers are ready to carry the torch.

For more information about Lund Boats’ commitment to youth fishing programs and AYA tournaments, simply log onto the website: www.angleryoungangler.ca. Here you’ll find info on upcoming events as well contact and sponsor info, plus photos and videos from previous tournaments.

Image courtesy Lund

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