Youth bass tournament Saturday in Spirit Lake

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  • Courtesy photos Participants in last year’s AYA tournament on Lake Coeur d’Alene lined up at McEuen Park. This year’s tournament is set for Saturday at Spirit Lake.

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    Tricia Sigler, Becky Bradley, AYA director Brett Surplus, Tony McCalmant, and winners Wally Rohr, and Gavin French at last year’s first AYA North Idaho youth bass tournament.

  • Courtesy photos Participants in last year’s AYA tournament on Lake Coeur d’Alene lined up at McEuen Park. This year’s tournament is set for Saturday at Spirit Lake.

  • 1

    Tricia Sigler, Becky Bradley, AYA director Brett Surplus, Tony McCalmant, and winners Wally Rohr, and Gavin French at last year’s first AYA North Idaho youth bass tournament.

As a kid, Brett Surplus spent late summers in a 14-foot, aluminum Sea King with his grandfather fishing for kokanee in Wolf Lodge Bay.

The experience instilled in him a mission.

He still has the 1969 model boat.

“It’s an old-school boat. It looks fantastic,” Surplus said.

The mission is just as iconic as the watercraft: Follow in granddad’s wake and teach other youngsters the joy of the outdoors.

“A lot of people don’t take their kids out because their parents never grew up doing it,” said Surplus, the CEO of Reel Sportsman TV. “That’s what we’re here for.”

Making opportunities for kids to hunt and fish is what Surplus enjoys.

This weekend on Spirit Lake, Surplus — who is also the regional director of the adult youth angler (AYA) — teams up with Mark’s Marine and a host of area businesses for a bass tournament that includes a chance to win a boat and motor, along with a bunch of other prizes.

Last year’s inaugural two-day event was on Lake Coeur d’Alene, and this year’s July 7 tournament will kick off around 8 a.m. at Spirit Lake’s public boat launch and the Boars Nest, which is an event host.

The well known bass tournament — known for its Lund boat giveaway — originated in the Midwest and is now on its second year in North Idaho.

Anglers from 25 teams, which include one adult and one or two youths younger than 18, will compete to catch the biggest bass and take home a $4,000 Lund boat package presented by Mark’s Marine and Reel Sportsman TV. The 12-foot aluminum boat with trailer is accompanied by a 5 hp Mercury motor.

Other prizes include $500 big fish jackpot from Blue Dog RV, as well as bags of accoutrements from Strike King lures, and Macks lures are also a sponsor. Applications for the tournament are available at Black Sheep, Becker Tackle and Fins and Feathers.

“The phones have been ringing,” Surplus said. “People seem to like to wait until the last minute.”

The event weigh-ins will be held at the Boars Nest in Spirit Lake at 3 p.m., and there will be shuttle services from the boat launch to the event area.

Spectators are welcome to attend for free. Team entry fees are $100.

As a youngster, Surplus, who grew up in Coeur d’Alene, fished mostly in the big lake. The annual AYA tournament, however, won’t be confined to a few bodies of North Idaho water.

“We hope to spread it around,” Surplus said.

The mission is to get youngsters interested in being outside, and the tournament will be filmed for Reel Sportsman TV.

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