Last weekend Birch Forest Lodge had a very special opportunity to be part of the Student Angler Tournament Trail 2020 Bass Fishing Championship held here on Pelican Lake. 32 teams from various high schools in Minnesota sent 84 boats of student fishermen to Pelican Lake to compete. Each boat had 2 students fishing and one coach/captain. The event was held on Saturday and Sunday with each team allowed to enter up to 15 fish each day. All fish were measured and released at the boat. The winning team-Lakeville- boated 112 pounds (3.7 pound average) of Bass in the two days. Several 5-5.5 pound bass were registered. A total of 955 Smallmouth and Largemouth Bass were caught for the tournament. Interestingly enough, about 60% of the fish caught were largemouth, but the average size of smallmouth bass was bigger. The results were updated in real time and I tried to look for trends as I followed things on my phone. One thing really jumped off the page to me. 65% of the fish were caught and registered by 10 am. I always hear that fishing early and late is better than in the middle of the day. Well, statistically speaking, most of the fish were caught in a 2 hour time frame (morning). Our local team, Northwoods High School, took 5th place. It was an honor to be part of something like this. Here are some photos from the event.
The opening ceremony was held at our docks each morning and all 84 boats had to check in. This was a shot taken as the boats were starting to gather in the bay. It was so cool to look out at the bay and see all those boats getting ready to go fishing!
Most of the teams arrived on Thursday to do some pre-fishing Friday morning. It was 25 degrees Friday morning and the dock was covered in a light layer of frost/ice! Beautiful site, but slippery dock. I was out on the dock early getting things ready and this was the view of the sun coming up…
All summer long we rave about our sunsets, but I can attest that our sunrises can be pretty spectacular as well. It was so quiet and peaceful on the water as the sun was coming up. Friday started out cold, but then things really warmed up. We enjoyed a 75 degree day with no wind. I saw more than one sunburned face later that day.
Saturday morning was the official start of the event and we had volunteered to have the national anthem and prayer done at our docks. I don’t think I quite knew what we were in for. It was a real treat. Along with the 84 boats we soon had a car parked on every open piece of lawn as parents and families gathered for the start. There was a little chaos and lots of excitement in the air. The highlight for me was seeing the reverence of the teams and spectators during the prayer and playing of the Star Spangled Banner. We had run a power line out to the end of the dock and set up speakers so everyone could hear the prayer and national anthem. When the director of the event (Jimmy Bell) picked up the mic and asked everyone to turn off their engines it became so quiet. Every kid took off their cap and sat or stood very reverently. As soon as the prayer was finished they played the national anthem and everyone stood very reverently as the flag lightly flapped in the breeze. Such a beautiful morning. Here is a short clip of the national anthem being played.
As busy as things were on Saturday, there were even more people onsite for the opening ceremony on Sunday! I was even somewhat overcome with emotion as I gazed out at all the boats and people during the event. When we purchased the resort in 2015 we had one check in during the entire month of September. We really struggled the first couple of years and more than once wondered if we were going to make it. Standing there that morning in awe seeing all those people and boats reverencing God and country was awesome. What a privilege to be part of something like this.