The Angler Young Angler Fishing Tournament held on July 8th brought out the future of fishing with Charlie and Jack Sannes, led by Zach Axtman, took home the victory.
Saturday’s strong winds caused the 11th annual Devils Lake Angler Young Angler Fishing Tournament to be pushed back to Sunday but it didn’t deter the excitement or the catches.
The team of Zach Axtman, Charlie and Jack Sannes caught five fish for a combined weight total of 23.95 pounds to capture the championship at Lakewood Park. Axtman, Sannes and Sannes fended off 39 other squads to take home a brand new LUND fishing boat with a Mercury motor.
“Any time I can get my two cousins out fishing and get them exposed to tournament fishing and stuff like that, it’s a win-win,” said Axtman. “They enjoy it, I enjoy, and it’s the only way we get other kids and keep everything going in the fishing industry essentially. “If we don’t get them (kids) exposed to it at an young age, we may not have this in 10, 15 years.”
And it was the youngest Sannes, Charlie, who’s 8.4 pounder not only earned him the Brian Ramberg Award for Boys Biggest Walleye but undoubtedly pushed his crew over the edge. “That was the biggest fish I’ve ever caught. It is unbelievable,” Charlie said.
For Axtman, it took him until his fifth tournament to final capture the No. 1 spot. “You win some, and you lose a lot,” Axtman said with laugh.
It was also Jack’s first win in this his fifth AYA tournament. “I’m speechless; I don’t even know what to say. It’s just awesome winning it, he said.
The team of Jason Elise, and Ty Ramberg finished second with 15.73 pounds with five fish and Jason and Tucker Vasichek and Jake Ritterman rounded out the top three with five fish caught for a total of 13.13 pounds.
Jennifer Grafsgard got the Brian Ramberg Award for the girls for her 5.55 catch. Niklas Mack, at age 3, was awarded as the Youngest Angler and Team Erickson, consisting of Rob, Emily and August will return to Rochester, Minn. with the Traveler Award for traveling the furthest for the tournament.Rochester, birthplace of the Mayo Clinc in Olmsted County, is a little over a seven hour drive.
Chris Harris can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter: @ChrisHarris_DLJ