Youth fishing clinic a monster success

Excitement is what I felt as I proudly opened the day's ceremonies for the Sports-man's Annual Fishing Clinic Saturday, Feb. 18.

The bleachers were overflowing with kids and parents anxious to learn something about fishing from the Pro's and volunteers. They were not to be disappointed as the Sportsman Club and volunteers provided a day of fun filled facts about fishing.

Adam Block opened the day with a fact filled slide about fishing, fish management and fishing laws.

That was followed by an endless drawing for prizes donated by Cabelas of Owatonna. Close to $1,000 of fishing gear was given away by them.

The kids then were treated by fish I.D. guide Marty Hahn. He also gave away a free guided fishing trip.

FLW walleye pro Billy Shimota had a great lure display and talked about different ways to catch fish.

Kurt Palma tied spinnerbaits and jigs. He decided to build one for every kid who showed up at the clinic. Just amazing! This was a popular display.

Then the kids came to the fish filleting table where they saw how to clean northern pike and remove the Y bones. That was my gig. Others like Gene Vavra showed how to fillet fish with an electric knife. Joe Bartusek also showed different ways to fillet fish.

Next was Joe Eklund teaching the kids how to tie different knots used while fishing. And Cabelas had a booth where they gave away even more free prizes.

Finally the kids went to the casting contest which was conducted by Bill Bartusek Jr. and Brandon and Dennis Palma. Of course, the winners in each division received new rod and reel combos provided by Cabelas.

And finally each kid received a grab bag filled with fishing goodies provided by the Sportsman's Club. I promise you I'd be tickled to receive one of those bags. They were loaded.

Rich Ziskovsky then made sure no one went home hungry. He took care of preparing the lunch provided by the Sportsman's Club.

A special thanks is in order for the Sportsman's Club for providing the funds to fuel this project. Thanks again to Cabelas of Owatonna for all the prizes.

And a special thanks to the people who made this happen. Chairman Gene Palma and Billy Bartusek Jr. for their months of obtaining sponsors and more prizes, along with the Pros at the event. Don't forget the volunteers - Rich Ziskovsky, Brandon and Dennis Palma, Kurt Palma, Joe Bartusek, Joe Eklund, Gene Vavra, and all the club members who helped.

The big winners Saturday were the kids. Everyone I talked to, parents and kids alike, had a great time and brought home something they learned from this clinic.

The Sportsman's Club, its members, and all the volunteers should be proud of what they did for the kids.

I know I was honored and proud to be a small part of the annual Sportsman fishing clinic.

The big winners Saturday were all the kids who attended the clinic.

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