Strong bass bite in fishing tournament to honor veterans on the Alex Chain
A tournament to honor military heroes and raise scholarship money for veterans was in Alexandria June 24 and 25 on the Chain of Lakes.
The Fishing for our Heroes Walleye and Bass Tournament is hosted through the Daniel Drevnick Memorial Fund.
Drevnick is a Woodbury native who joined the Army National Guard in 2005. He was deployed in Iraq on March 2, 2009 when a hostile rocket was launched into his compound. Drevnick and two other American soldiers were killed in the attack.
Drevnick wanted to be a Minnesota State Trooper. The mission of the Daniel Drevnick Memorial Fund, a 501c3 non-profit, is to raise money that is put back into scholarships for military veterans who are going to school to become police officers. Anyone who meets that criteria can apply for a scholarship at www.heroathome.org.
"We have given out 62 scholarships as of today," tournament director Jay Schade said on June 30 after what was the fifth annual Fishing for our Heroes Bass and Walleye Tournament. "The (recipients of the scholarships) can use that money for anything. They can use it for tuition, they can use it for food, gas, whatever they want as long as they're coming out of the military and going to school to become a police officer."
The weekend on the Alexandria Chain of Lakes started with the anglers who were going to fish in the tournament taking veterans out for a day of fishing on June 24. It's an opportunity for the anglers to show their respect for the service of military men and women, but it's also a chance for veterans to learn a little about fishing from some good anglers.
"The majority of the time, those guys want to learn how to fish and they want to learn new tactics and new ways to catch more fish," Schade said. "It's just as cool for the anglers as it is for the vets."
Schade said a total of 44 two-person teams fished the tournament in Alexandria on June 25. Local anglers in Shad Schmidt and Bill Infanger won the bass tournament with a total weight of 20.33 pounds for the six-fish limit. That just beat the second-place team with a total weight of 20.13. The top six teams in the bass tournament all weighed in more than 15 pounds of fish.
Schmidt and Infanger brought home $1,700 for their efforts. The two have fished together for years, and Schmidt said this was one of the best days they have had fishing the local chain.
The winning team of walleye anglers brought in 17.12 pounds of fish as finding those walleyes was a tougher challenge for many of the anglers. The second-place team brought in 14.8 pounds of fish and the third-place team, Alexandria natives Adam and Kent Andersen, caught 13.31 pounds of walleye.
"Bass stuff was really good," Schade said. "That was excellent. Walleyes, it's a tough fishery to figure it out. You'll have half the teams that do really well and you'll have half the teams that will have zero. That's part of the game too."
There is an $8,200 total payout to anglers regardless of the number of boats in the tournament. It's the second year that the tournament has been fished in Alexandria, and Schade says it is likely that they will be back against next year.
"It sounds like we're going to plan on going back there, depending upon sponsorship stuff," Schade said. "It's about a 95 percent chance we'll be going back."