'Kid-Pro' angler had a blast

By Elisabeth Heslop, Fort Frances Times LTD.
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The day of the 11th-annual “Kid-Pro” tournament dawned sunny and warm, boding well for the 14 youngster who gathered under the big tent at the Sorting Gap Marina on Sunday morning to meet their pro angling partners.
As the third of her siblings to participate in the tourney, 10-year-old Harleigh Brow-Rose knew something of what to expect—her two older brothers had told her stories of their experiences. Now it was her turn.
Partnered with Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship angler Rollie Roy, Brow-Rose headed out onto Rainy Lake in search of some big bass.
She didn’t find any but, according to youngster, that doesn’t really matter.
The day was fun, she said, and she learned everything she had wanted to, including how to tie a new knot for securing lures to her line and a trick for improving her technique with a popper.
She spent hours on the water, improving her cast while enjoying the beauty of the lake.
To top it off, she got to observe an experienced fisherman at work, ask him questions about his techniques and his favourite spots to fish, and listen to some tall tales.
Although Roy reeled in several fish, including bass, northern pike, and perch, Brow-Rose caught nary a finned creature.
But she did catch something unexpected.
In the early afternoon, on the sunny side of one of the many islands on the lake, Brow-Rose suddenly felt a fierce tug on her line.
Excited, she called out, “I’ve got a fish!”
Roy set down his rod, grabbed the net and hurried to her side.
As Brow-Rose reeled in her line, her catch became visible.
To her wonder, she saw that it wasn’t a massive bass on the hook, or even a big northern, but an 18-inch long snapping turtle—solidly hooked by one back leg.
After a short struggle to keep the turtle in the net and release the hook without risking the loss of fingers, the turtle managed to wiggle free of the hook and dove deep.
“I’m going to tell all my friends about this,” Brow-Rose grinned.
Fourteen kids participated in the “Kid-Pro” tournament this year—a much lower number than in previous years.
Longtime volunteer Linda Plumridge admitted she was disappointed with the low number of kids but was encouraged to see plenty of interest on the part of the anglers, who took a day off from their pre-fishing for the Fort Frances Canadian Bass Championship later this week to spend time with the youngsters.
She also said she was excited to see new teams of anglers who hadn’t participated in the “Kid-Pro” before join fishermen like Phil Bangert, who has fished the tournament for every one of its 11 years.
Plumridge said that aside from the usual glitches of boat trouble and truck trouble, the day went smoothly.
“The kids made off like bandits,” she smiled, noting each participant received a rod, a tackle kit, and a hat.
This year’s “Kid-Pro” title was captured by Aric Supinski, who teamed up with Mike Salvador and Reid Norine to reel in 11.11 pounds of bass.
Andrew Nichols, fishing with Tony Richards and Scott Crowe, came in second with 10.39 pounds.
Danielle Jackson and Hunter Calder, both fishing with pro angler Jeff Gustafson, were a close third at 10.36 pounds.
The largest fish (4.29 pounds) was caught by the fourth-place team of Lynton Mounk, Dave Bennett, and Brad Leuthner.