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Dock Talk: Junior tourney highlights young anglers

Justin Peterson of Park Rapids shows off a beautiful Lake Belle Taine largemouth bass on its way to the official scale at the Nevis Scholarship Fund Junior Fishing Tournament last fall. His father, Brett, is at right. (Jason Durham / For the Enterprise)

Next Sunday, September 13, marks the 13th Annual Nevis Scholarship Fund Junior Fishing Tournament on Lake Belle Taine and there is still space for additional two-person teams to participate in this wonderful event.

Entry forms are available at bait shops in Nevis and Park Rapids. Teams may even register for the tournament on the morning of September 13.

That morning anglers will launch their boats at the Lake Belle Taine public access and must attend a rules meeting beginning at 8:30 a.m.

The format for the Jr. Fishing Tournament is unique; kids fish as a two-person team and operate a fishing boat together, without an adult on board, hoping to move the vessel at just the right speed and into a fishing hot-spot. Locating, battling and landing fish is the challenge for teammates.

The rules require one team member to be 12 to 17 years old and may need a boaters safety permit depending upon the size of the boat engine used. All anglers must wear a personal floatation device throughout the tournament hours.

Take-off positions are drawn and the boats depart in pairs, each hoping to find the right combination of bass, northern and walleye to win the $200 first place. The winning team will also have their names emblazoned on the Conset Cup, a trophy that proudly displays the names of previous winners throughout the tournament's history.

A group of adult anglers will also be patrolling the lake to ensure that every participant is safe and to additionally lend assistance, just in case a motor doesn't start or there's trouble getting a hook out of a fish's mouth.

Kids won't go hungry at this annual event, since a pontoon idling throughout the lake hands out grilled hot dogs and pop to the anglers all day long.

Official tournament hours run from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the entry fee is $35 per two-person team. The public is invited to stop at the Belle Taine public access throughout the day to see fish come to the scale and also for the awards ceremony at 3 p.m.

The kids all hope to win first place, but there are some wonderful other prizes as well, including rods and reels, tackle and outdoor gear, even if the adolescent duo doesn't enter a fish.

Many businesses have donated prizes and provided monetary support for the tournament, but the event is also a fund drive for the Nevis Dollars for Scholars organization.

Those donations are placed into an account and are never removed. The interest that accrues on the account is split between graduating Nevis seniors who attend post-secondary education. Those scholarships, referred to as "honor-loans" can only be used for books or tuition. Recipients are encouraged to make a donation to the Scholarship Fund after completing college and becoming financially stable.

For more information on the 13th Annual Nevis Scholarship Fund Junior Fishing Tournament, or to donate or volunteer to help, contact Alex Magaard at 652-4001.