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Angling pair gets no trophies but our undying admiration

Park Rapids residents Jon Gravdahl, at left, and Dean Christofferson earn Jason's kudos as multi-species anglers of 2010. (Submitted photo)

When it comes to fishing tournaments, the Park Rapids area definitely has some variety.

From bi-monthly mid-week bass club and walleye league tournaments, to the multi-faceted multi-species events, Park Rapids has a lot to offer for the competitive angler.

One of the unique attributes of tournament fishing in our region is the multi-species event. Instead of targeting one species, the multi-species event challenges anglers to employ varying techniques, create a strategy of which species to fish and during which parts of the day, and encompass the flexibility to entirely throw out a game-plan and refine it based upon the current activity levels of certain fish species. Multi-species events are a trial of concentration, stamina and mental adaptability.

The Park Rapids area's four multi-species tournaments, beginning with the Walt Winskowski Memorial Tournament on Straight Lake and the Gene Cirks Memorial Scholarship Tournament on Belle Taine in the early part of the fishing season, followed by the Fall Classic on Long Lake and the Fall Slam on Fish Hook are unparalleled by other multi-species events throughout the state.

A few other destinations have one or two multi-species tournaments, but to have four is directly related to the quality, quantity and diversity of our fisheries. A high release rate and low mortality rate is a result of both angler and weigh-station volunteer dedication to ensuring the events have little impact on the lakes.

The field of anglers for each of these events contains a talented array of individuals and teams. Anyone could take the top honors for catching the greatest single-day weight of walleye, northern and bass, the three targeted species for each event.

While some tournament trails such as B.A.S.S. and FLW crown an annual Angler of the Year based upon a formula of points, the Park Rapids area multi-species tournaments haven't yet embraced recognizing an individual or team that has performed consistently at or near the top of the field over the course of the tournament season.

Though there has never been an honor bestowed upon the best performing individual or team, I've decided to figure it out anyway. There's no monetary prize or shiny trophy, just an acknowledgment and a handshake because, truly, they deserve it.

The formula is simple; points are awarded to each individual angler on a descending scale based upon their finish and the number of boats fishing each event. For instance, if there were 50 boats competing in an event, first place would receive 50 points, second would get 49 and so on. Points are given on an individual basis and carried over since so many anglers switch partners throughout the season.

This year it's a tie for first, since the two anglers fished all four tournaments alongside each other as a team. Congratulations to Dean Christofferson and Jon Gravdahl who secured the Anglers of the Year status by winning on Long Lake, taking second on Straight Lake and Fish Hook and earning fifth place, their worst, yet highly respectable finish, on Lake Belle Taine.