AJ Arneson made a connection with the Student Angler Federation and pursued creating a local fishing club.

AJ Arneson, who will be a senior next school year at Sleepy Eye Public School, has a passion for fishing and knew of many others that enjoy it as well. He made a connection with the Student Angler Federation and pursued creating a local fishing club.

The Student Angler Federation program is an educational program designed to introduce students to fishing and to show them the ever increasing career and educational opportunities through fishing. The program also shows students how the basic elements of their education are used by tournament anglers every day out on the water. They also learn how they can use fishing and having fun to sharpen those basic skills that will help them later in life — no matter what their career choice.

On Sunday, June 7, AJ, along with eight other Sleepy Eye Public School anglers, took to the lake for their first fishing club tournament through the Student Angler Federation. The other student anglers are Jack Nelson, Kadon Strong, Jake Price, Arian Saenz, Erizen Traconis, Matthew Sellner, Jackson Huiras, and Jacob Schultz.

The fishing tournament had over 250 teams participate and was virtual due to the pandemic. Anglers fished on any lake or river they chose. They took photos of their fish and submitted them, through an app, to the judges.

AJ caught a 5.7 pound, 21.25 inches long Largemouth bass on Sleepy Eye Lake — it was the second largest fish caught in the tournament, out of 500 registered fishermen or women.

Fishing is a great lifetime hobby and is a growing high school sport across Minnesota. AJ would love to see the sport of fishing added to the high school athletic programs in area schools sometime in the future.

For more information about Student Angler Federation, or if interested in joining the fishing club, contact AJ Arneson at 507-766-9728.