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January 20, 2022

1/7/2022 12:26:00 PM
Local fishermen enjoy success at the next level

We caught up with local angler Kyle Minke who recently competed in a national fishing tournament on  Table Rock Lake in Arkansas.  He and his partner finished seventh out of 350 boats. Kyle and his wife Jenna are Lindstrom residents.  Kyle owns a local plumbing company in Lindstrom.

-How long have you been fishing?  How did you get started?
 I've been fishing for as long as I can remember. My mom used to drive us down to Forest Lake in a back channel and my brothers and I would fish for hours on shore catching bluegills, crappies and an occasional bass. When I got old enough I would bike down to the lake myself and fish as long as my parents would allow. My dad always had nice fishing boats and I can remember him taking us fishing almost every weekend, mostly chasing walleyes. My parents would always plan a family vacation every summer to a different body of water mostly in northern MN. We all looked forward to these vacations every year and they always revolved around fishing.

I give the credit to my dad for teaching me how to fish and to my mom for having the patience to be successful at fishing. I gotta give my uncle Mike Verling credit for getting me addicted to bass fishing. He would take me to northern Minnesota a few times a summer and those were some of the greatest memories I had as a kid catching bass on Texas rigged worms.  Fishing was a big part of our family growing up, lots of memories with my grandpa Elmer, uncle Bill and my uncle Kent as well.

-I see fishing is in your family blood - can you tell us about your brothers who fish?
My older brother Dustin was the first of us to take fishing to the next level.  He took a job on Lake of the Woods as a fishing guide in the summers between school. I can always remember at a young age Dustin always saying he wanted to be a professional walleye angler. He graduated college and immediately signed up for what's now called the national walleye tour "NWT".  He was quite successful right away and has been for a long time now. Dustin has been a huge inspiration for me to get started in tournament fishing.
My younger brother Cory loves being outdoors but doesn't have the tournament fever that Dustin and I have.  He enjoys getting out with us as much as he can and we fish the Leech Lake Classic Walleye tournament together every year and he usually kicks my butt.  I look forward to that time we get to spend together on the water.

-You live locally - do you fish the local lakes?  Do you have a favorite lake?  
Yes, my wife and I live right in Lindstrom. I fish the local lakes as much as I can. We have some of the best largemouth lakes in the state. I fish the Frankies Tuesday night tournaments and the Greenhorn Wednesday nighters. Those give me plenty of opportunities to fish most of the local lakes. When I do get some free time to fun fish, my wife and I enjoy fishing Chisago lake. That's one of our favorite lakes for sure and she usually kicks my butt out there.

-How did you qualify for the Johnny Morris amatuer tourney?
They hosted eight different qualifying events and took the top 40 out of each tournament.  My partner John and I fished the tournament on Lake St. Clair in Michigan and placed second.  Neither of us had  been to lake St. Clair to target smallmouth bass.

We were only given two days of practice out there, so we had to come up with a game plan real quick and it almost worked out perfectly. We came up a half pound short of the win. It was such a fun and cool experience with the big stage, live music, fans and a few fishing legends.

-Have you ever fished Table Rock before?
I have fished Table Rock Lake two times before but never in the fall season.  I fish in the Major League Fishing Toyota series and in May of 2019 I took fourth place there. Being on the lake prior helped a little just knowing the lay of the lake but the fish were doing completely different things when we were there for this tournament.

-Tell us about your partner
John Hoyer is one of the best multi-species anglers I know and I couldn't ask for a better teammate. John actually teams with my older brother Dustin on the NWT walleye trail and has been very successful. We have been good friends for many years and hope to fish more team events with him in the future.

-What was the opening day like?  Tons of boats Im sure - how did you fare?  
Opening day was incredible.  There were 350 boats all waiting to take off for a chance to win a million dollars so there was a lot of energy and excitement in the air. There was a cold front that came in on the first morning and caused us to have a  two hour fog delay. It hurt us a little because we were running about 45 miles to our starting area, so that did not give us a lot of time to fish and figure out what the fish were doing. We knew we didn't need a very big weight to make the day two cut of 250 boats but still needed to catch a limit of five fish.

-You had a huge day two, what were you doing differently?
We did have a big day two, weighing the biggest bag of the tournament. We ran into the right school of fish four different times and caught five beauties early in the morning. We decided to lay off the fish around 9:30am since we knew we had enough weight to make the day three cut and they were zeroing everyone's weights for the final day.
We finished day two by running around the lake looking for bait fish on our Lowrance electronics. The fish we were targeting were eating shad and there was a ton of it if you were in the right areas. The bait would move daily depending on the  weather conditions so we had to relocate the fish each day. After day two we ended up making the 50 boat cut and were sitting in fifth  place. Day three we fished some of the same areas and ran into the right schools of fish two different times. Unfortunately I lost the only fish we lost all week and it was a pretty big largemouth. I don't think that fish could have won it for us but it sure would have helped move us up the leaderboard.

-What baits did you find work best in that lake?
Table Rock Lake has three different kinds of bass you could weigh in: Spotted bass, largemouth and smallmouth. What we found most of the fish were feeding on  was shad. We targeted these fish with number nine jigging raps and 3/4 ounce tail spins. Using heavier baits was really key fishing over deep water.  The fish were moving really fast chasing shad so getting the bait down to the fish as fast as possible after seeing them on Lowrance active target/live sonar was key for spotting them.

-What was your payout for taking seventh place?
The payout was $30,000 total for us both.

-Do you have pro level aspirations?
I most certainly do. I actually  almost qualified for the Major League Fishing Pro Tour this year, which is one of the biggest stages in bass fishing.  The MLF Toyota series that I fish now is a tour of three tournaments with a championship of the top 25 pros in points from each division.  There are six total divisions to choose from. I fish the plains division cause most of the lakes are within a 10 to 12 hour drive from home.  I ended the season points in 8th place missing an invite to the MLF Pro tour by three places.
-What would you say to parents who may be thinking about getting their kids into fishing?
 I think its a great idea to bring all kid's fishing or to any outdoor activity for that matter.  There is nothing better for you than being outdoors and in nature.  Fishing can help teach things like perseverance, patience, and coordination.  It's also a great way to get them off those screens.  There's nothing better than watching their face light up when they catch one.       

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