BIRCHDALE - A group of friends from northwestern Minnesota took home the trophy in the North American Sturgeon Championships Saturday.
David Jenson of Middle River, his brother Duane (Newfolden), and friend Dion Larson (Strandquist) caught a sturgeon measuring in at 57.75 inches to win the tournament prize of over $2,300.
The trio was joined by over 100 other boats carrying anglers from all over Minnesota, floating on Rainy River trying to see if they could catch "the big one."
Despite winning the tournament, David said the three had come down to participate on a whim.
"I was working on the drywall at the high school when my brother called me up to see about going to this fishing tournament. I thought it sounded like fun so I thought, "Sure, why not," he said.
Duane agreed it was a last-minute trip but he was overjoyed that it worked out in the end.
"It all happened so fast," he said. "I just found out about this tournament yesterday and we drove up here last night."
The group then agreed that if any of them caught the winning sturgeon, they would split the prize money among themselves.
David described catching the fish, saying how it waited until the closing hour of the tournament to bite.
"I had been switching between my big fishing rod and my walleye pole back and forth, until 15 minutes before the tournament (ended), I put my big pole out one more time," he said. "I loaded the hook up with worms and just dropped it below the boat, then all of a sudden I felt this sharp tug."
The rest, as they say, is history.
Before the adults went out on the water, a kids tournament was held for anglers under 17, with the prize being a new bicycle.
Tyler Zerwas from Otsego, Minn., took home the prize in this tournament, catching a sturgeon that measured in at 49.5 inches.
Complete results for the kids tournament and the top-five finishers for the adults tournament are below:
1. Tyler Zerwas - 49.5 inches
2. Austin Spaulding - 42 inches
3. Anne Marie Peterson - 37.5 inches
4. Trey Canfield - 27.5 inches
1. David Jenson - 57.75 inches
2. Shane Skelly - 51.25 inches
3. Dave Schmid - 48.25 inches
4. Troy Solo - 47.5 inches
5. Matthew Fuller - 45 inches