For generations of aspiring anglers, early recollections of adventures center on their very first fish, which often was hooked while fishing from a Lund Boat.
The legendary boat company’s longtime commitment to youth and its efforts to recruit young anglers has remained as steadfast as the iconic brand itself. That tradition of infusing the sport with youthful exuberance continued on August 23, as Lund Boats hosted its sixteenth annual Angler & Young Angler (AYA) Championship.
Originated by Lund in 1998, AYA fishing events engage youth and enable them the opportunity to fish in a competitive tournament atmosphere – this while priorities remain to educate and introduce young folks to fishing with the help of friends and family.
Teams consist of two young anglers under 17, one adult angler, and a certified professional Lund guide. Events including the AYA Championship, consist of a full day of fishing followed by a weigh-in, prizes, awards and a BBQ. Top finishing teams from each regional event are invited to fish in the Championship, held this year on Ontario’s scenic Lake of the Woods.
Among this year’s sixteen Championship qualifying teams, siblings Kylee and Tyler Rassmussen of Grand Rapids, Minnesota, emerged victorious, winning a trip for four to Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida. The successful sister and brother team, sponsored by Ray’s Sport & Marine in Grand Rapids, MN, skillfully landed 23.25-pounds of Lake of the Woods walleyes, thanks to the adept guiding of Lund Boats Product Engineer Rory Wiebe, as well as their father Brad Rassmussen.
“The AYA Championship is just an awesome event,” said the elder Rassmussen. “To be able to fish with my kids and actually win both the regional and international tournaments is unbelievably special. The memories we’ve made this year will never be forgotten. Both Kylee and Tyler proudly wore their new AYA Tournament jerseys all weekend, including the trip home Sunday. After we won, Tyler had to keep pinching himself to make sure he was not dreaming that we had won a trip to Disney World.
“Lund Boats and all the volunteers do a tremendous job organizing and conducting this event, and we’re extremely grateful to this wonderful fishing boat company, and the leadership position they’ve assumed in youth angling today.”
As to the fishing, Rassmussen reported that “Crankbaits, spinner rigs and jigs all caught walleyes, though the spinners were probably our most effective presentation. Special thanks to Lund’s own Rory Wiebe for his fishing expertise and guidance.”
Having guided at numerous AYA tournaments, renowned Canadian angler and Lund pro-staff Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson added perspective. “As someone with a passion for tournament fishing it’s great to see kids who might not otherwise get the opportunity to fish a tournament compete in AYA events. Watching kids of all ages catch fish and wear big smiles throughout these events is really special.
“It’s great to see Lund and the fishing industry support these AYA events. This is a truly outstanding organization that continues introducing numerous youngsters to the joys and rewards of competitive angling across North America.”
From Lund Boats and the fishing industry at large, shared sentiments ring far and wide: Welcome young anglers to the most wonderful sport in the world. You’ll never regret the days you spend on the water.
For more information about Lund Boats’ commitment to youth fishing programs and Angler & Young Angler tournaments, visit www.lundboats.com, or log onto www.angleryoungangler.ca. Here you’ll find info on upcoming events as well contact and sponsor info, plus photos and videos from previous tournaments.
Traditions Media, LLC
Traditions Media, LLC
Image courtesy Lund Boats