by Bret Amundson
“A net? Who needs a net? Nets are for second place. ”
That may have been something overheard at the recent Crosslake-Ideal Lions Fishing Tournament that took place on the Whitefish Chain on Saturday.
The MNSJ Summer Tour arrived just in time for the weigh in.
As the boats rolled in, so did the fish. This was a catch, weigh, and release tournament, so all the fish were returned to the water and I heard that the mortality was at or near zero, which is a testament to the efforts put forth by the staff.
The story of the tournament involved the team of Jessie and Darrel Johnson, this year’s tourney winners. The father-son duo won the tournament with a huge bag of pike, along with a good total of bass to take the top spot. They took in over 20lbs of pike-quite an accomplishment considering teams could only keep 3 northern pike and and only one of those could be over 30 inches.
Ok, that’s pretty good, but what if I said they landed all their big pike without a net?
Nets are pretty important in tournament fishing. Every lost fish could be dollar signs swimming away. Northern pike are toothy and angry fish. Ask anyone who’s caught a few in their lifetimes and they’ll be ably to tell you about bloody fingers or treble hooks that are flung from the fish and into skin.
These guys landed them all by hand.
When the first bass was caught, just 10 minutes in, the net was dropped overboard in the frantic landing. 10 minutes into a money tournament and they would be boating each fish by hand from their on out.
It didn’t matter. Today was their day, whether it was fate or the ultimate Fathers Day gift, they could do wrong.
Darrel Johnson has fished this tournament for more years than he’d care to remember but had no trophies to show for it. Jessie Johnson (his son) had won the tournament just a few years earlier with a different partner.
This Fathers Day Weekend, the duo were unstoppable, giving the Rodbenders multi-species fishing league another notch in the victory column.
A perfect fathers day gift-finally getting the W for Darrel and doing it with his son.
All without a net.