LA CROSSE, WI (WXOW)-- The Junior Bassmaster Club allows youth to compete at a club, state and divisional level, ultimately qualifying them for a Bassmaster Junior World Championship of their own. They can win cash prizes and academic scholarships.
After the program disappeared for a few years, 20-year-old Cade Laufenberg decided to bring the River Road Junior Bassmaster Club back to give more youth the same opportunities he had bass fishing.
One of the best young fishermen on the local team is Brady McCoy; he admits he's not the most experienced or oldest fisherman.
"I never competed in a tournament before," McCoy said. "All I had been fishing was off my dock. Maybe in my boat a little bit."
But he still won the Junior Bassmaster State Tournament.
"The guys kept saying you do not know what a big deal it was. I knew the next tournament I'm going to be in is going to be some tough guys fishing and I'm going to have to figure out what they're biting on," McCoy said.
He credits his win to the seven pound bass he caught on the first day of the tournament when fishing off a dock.
"To get it under the dock you can skip it," McCoy said. "If you look out there. Did you see hot that skipped? If you throw it under the dock that's where the fish were."
Laufenberg said it takes a lot of hard work to become a great angler.
"To be a successful you've got to put in your time and spend countless hours on the water," Laufenberg said. "It's all about learning and trial and error."
"You're going to get frustrated," McCoy said. "I'm sure I've gotten really frustrated fishing and getting snagged up in a tree or a day that you might not catch anything."
McCoy said it's about being in the right spot at the right time.
"There's so much luck in fishing. One big fish can make a difference in a tournament," McCoy said.
But his mentor, Laufenberg, thinks there's more to it than luck.
"You look at the leader boards for some of these tournaments and consistently it's the same guys at the top every time and it's because they understand the way fish move and position themselves," Laufenberg said.
He said when you're fishing it's important to keep cool, don't stress the small things and be prepared to put in a full eight hour day if you want to try keeping up with the pros.
For more information on joining the River Road Junior Bassmasters email Laufenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org or check out the national web site at http://www.bassmaster.com/news/all-about-junior-bassmaster.
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