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Junior champions repeat at Nevis tourney

The sibling duo of Issac and Gabie Johnson hauled in 30.52 lbs. of bass and northerns to repeat as champions in the 15th annual Nevis Scholarship Fund Junior Fishing Tournament held last Sunday on Lake Belle Taine.

Last weekend marked the 15th annual Nevis Scholarship Fund Junior Fishing Tournament held on Lake Belle Taine.

The two-kid team, no adult in the boat format has been a bridge between pier fishing tournaments and adult multi-species events for a decade and a half.

And this year didn't disappoint. The twenty participating teams hauled in some great catches, as always, to bring to the official's scale.

Members from both local bass clubs in addition to community volunteers taxied fish from the competitor boats to the scale. The final total of fish weighed was 84 bass and 31 northern pike.

Once the final numbers were tallied, a repeat was declared. Gabie and Isaac Johnson of Park Rapids had, for the second year in a row, claimed their spot upon the Conset Cup, the tournament's cumulative preservation of past champions.

Gabie Johnson, the first female to enter the winner's circle in the Junior Fishing Tournament (in 2010), became the second consecutive female to do so.

And the team owes the final win to their mother. You see, Gabie and brother Isaac were teetering between first and second place throughout the day. The pair figured they had done pretty good and headed to the final weigh-in at the Lake Belle Taine Public access at 2:51 pm. The tournament concluded at 3 pm sharp.

While idling toward shore, their mom yelled supportively, "Don't come in yet, you still have a few minutes to fish!"

The sister/brother team flipped a "U" turn and began casting only a few boat-lengths from the Lake Belle Taine public access.

It didn't take long for Gabie to hook a 3.42 lb. largemouth bass, which put the team in 1st place by over two pounds and secured the prize for the largest bass of the day. The team's total weight was 30.52 lbs.

Second place went to Aaron Pappas and Kiefer Miller with 28.09 lbs. They also had the largest northern of the event at 2.84 lbs.

The third place team of Jordan Boettcher and Colby Bozovsky earned their finish with 25.74 lbs. of northern pike and bass.

Bryon Schuldt and Josh Haas landed 11.19 lbs. to capture fourth place.

Rounding out the top five was Cody Brumbaugh and Ryan Delahunt with a team total of 10.52 lbs.

The walleyes were elusive during the event, with no teams entering the species.

Each participant went home with numerous prizes from both local and regional sponsors of the annual tournament. All proceeds generated from the 15th annual Nevis Scholarship Fund Junior Fishing Tournament go into the general account of the Nevis Scholarship Fund, which awards honor loans to Nevis graduates pursuing a post-secondary degree.

Alex Magaard, Junior Fishing Tournament organizer, commended the numerous volunteers for all their efforts in ensuring the event went smoothly. He also thanked the many businesses who donated prizes and complimented all the youth anglers. "The kids are very talented at catching fish", said Magaard.

All fish were released after being weighed and the survival rate was 98 percent.