BEMIDJI - The 12th Annual Kraus-Anderson Walleye Classic brought in 96 competitors, all casting their lines in hopes of bringing in the $12,500 first prize, but in the end it was a father-son pair and their 18.08 pounds of walleye that won it all.
"If you want to find some fish then go out fishing," first prize winner Kaleb Hanson said. "That's the thing. We didn't catch a bunch of fish pre-fishing but we were able to find them today."
Kaleb Hanson was joined by his dad Kelly. The two got off to a quick start with Kaleb reeling in a 27-inch walleye within the first hour of fishing, followed shortly by a 25 and another 27.
Kelly said they fished on the north side of Lake Bemidji near the golf course. They were using a Lindy Rig most the day with worms as bait, fishing in about seven feet of water and dragging the line through the weeds.
They got their two walleye over 20 inches right away, but then struggled to find anything below that. They ended up with a few smaller 15-inch fish before they were able to replace them with 19-incher to top off their weight.
It is a good day for the Hanson family, continuing a family tradition that started in 2010 when Kelly's dad Donald won with 16.3 pounds of fish.
Donald and his partner Robert Strand had their chance, holding the hot seat for a while but falling out, taking fifth place with just over 15 pounds of walleye.
"It's my (22nd) anniversary, so instead of spending the day with the wife I got to spend it fishing with the kid," Hanson said. "I couldn't have asked for anything more."
Kraus-Anderson Top 10
1-Hanson and Hanson, 18.08; 2-Glime and Binkley, 15.56; 3-Murphy and Murphy, 15.12; 4-Dobmeier and Imdieke, 15.08; 5-Hanson and Strand, 15.00; 6-Schultz and Wagner, 14.83; 7-Benson and Leeper 14.75; 8-Kane and Hinrichs, 14.38; 9-Engelmann, 14.38; 10-Gregerson and Reiplinger, 14.34.
Big Fish: Al Fagerstrom, 7.96.