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Mike Frisch: Learning lessons from younger anglers

Longtime Alexandria area fishing guide Mike Frisch goes over some lessons he's learned in the last year by fishing with three younger anglers in their 20's.

Dakotah Kashmark
Dakotah Kashmark with a walleye caught on a jig using spinning gear.
Contributed photo from Mike Frisch

ALEXANDRIA — In the past year, I have had the good fortune of fishing with three young adult anglers, all in their 20’s, whom I admire for their fishing skills and passion for the sport. I have observed some things that I think are good examples for other anglers who want to increase their fishing skills and catch more fish.

Dakotah Kashmark of Barrett, Minnesota fishes more days than not I am guessing. It seems every time I call him after work he is either on the water or on the ice. Many weekends he spends both days fishing.

I’ve fished for crappies and walleyes with him and can attest to Dakotah’s skills with a spinning rod rigged with a jig. In addition, he is a dedicated bass and musky angler who is very good with baitcasting equipment as well. I admire Dakotah’s multi-species approach and the time he spends on the water as he has developed the knowledge and skills to capitalize on what’s biting best during a particular time period or season.

Mike Frisch
Mike Frisch hosts the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series and is a co-founder of the ZEBCO School of Fish.

Shane Gesell of Alexandria, Minnesota is a manager at a local bait shop who combines his knowledge gained in the bait shop with what I believe are natural skills involving “feel” and bite detection that led me to nickname him “The Natural” last summer.

One thing Shane does is he experiments with various retrieves that might be a bit unorthodox but sometimes lead to excellent catches. Last summer, Shane yo-yoed a bladed jig and plastic combination, different from the normal cast and straight retrieve often used with this combination and put the two biggest largemouth bass of our fishing trip in the boat that day. Shane combines natural ability with the mindset that he’s going to find a way to trigger fish into biting to be an outstanding angler!


Tanner Arndt is a 24-year old bonafide “fish head” from Ortonville, Minnesota who has already made a name for himself as a multi-species, multi-seasons fishing guide.

Tanner guides for winter perch and bluegills on his home water of Big Stone Lake. During open water, Tanner chases bass and panfish during spring, catches walleyes during summer, and then capitalizes on Big Stone’s hot late summer and fall perch bite.

In addition to sharing Dakotah’s multi species passion and skill expertise, Tanner has a unique way of doing his own thing and finding his own fish so that he can avoid community fishing spots and the crowds of anglers that sometimes gather in those areas. Tanner’s willingness to stay on the move to find the most fish and the best bite often lead his clients and him to good catches.

In addition to the fishing skills and details mentioned above, Dakotah, Shane, and Tanner also share another trait that makes them successful anglers. All three are astute using modern sonar technologies that allow them to see fish ahead and to the sides of their boats. The best anglers I know from my generation and before all are good with traditional 2D sonar that lets us see fish and cover below our boats. The younger generation of anglers often take their fish-finding skills to another level by developing the skills using the most modern of technologies.

Read more columns from Mike Frisch

Developing better fishing skills is a goal of lots who fish. For me, that means following the mantra “You’re never too old to learn” and being open minded to things I see other anglers do on the water to be successful.

They might be young guns, but Dakotah, Shane, and Tanner provide examples I think we can all learn from in our pursuit to find and catch more and bigger fish!

As always, good luck on the water and remember to include a youngster in your next outdoors adventure!

Mike Frisch hosts the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series and is a co-founder of the ZEBCO School of Fish.  Visit www.fishingthemidwest.com to see all things Fishing the Midwest.

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