With Rods And Reels, Anglers on Island Lake Fish and Fight ALS

WDIO Sports
Updated: June 05, 2019 11:33 PM

Duluth, Minn. - For almost a quarter century - the fight against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis has involved bobbers and bait on Island Lake.

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The sun was out, but it was 300 anglers who shined brightest on Saturday.150 teams of two set their sights on walleye and bass at the 24th Annual Kolar Toyota ALS Fishing Tournament.

Former Twins catcher Terry Steinbach and ex-Bulldog Jim Johnson have supported to cause for many years and they served as tournament hosts.

"In 1999, my dad passed away from ALS and from that point, we have been involved in different ALS events that we can," says Steinbach.

"So many great people have been coming ot this event and it is good to see all of the familiar faces, but we are hoping that we can end this event and then we know we have a cure for this disease," says Johnson.

ALS is a fatal degenerative neurological condition that causes progressive weakening. Yes, anglers want a bite, but this tournament is about the fight.

"It is really fascinating, there's new treatments and trials and testing and things that like that," says Blake Kolquist, a volunteer with the tournament.

Boats launched bright and early and Duluth's Bill Lounsberry and Jim Busker took top team honors in the walleye division, catching six for a total weight of 10.43 pounds. Their biggest one was right away and they stayed put.

"(I thought) This is going to be good, first cast - two pound fish. An early bite and we stuck with it because I said this is as good as it was going to get and it didn't get any worse," says Busker.

The biggest bass came on the last cast for the Duluth duo of Chad Mehlum and Mike Lebsack, with a a total weight of 16.45 to win the division and that big bass was 4.17 pounds.

"We had 20 minutes left before we had to fly and we pulled up two up, including that 4.17," says Lebsack.

Through fishing and fundraising, over the years, over $3 million dollars has been contributed to the battle. This year's amount is over $215-thousand dollars.

"There is a lot of activity and exciting around what we are trying to do," says Kolquist.

There may not be a cure for ALS yet, but the key word is YET.

For more information on the ALS Tournament, click here.

To visit the ALS Association Website, click here.


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