Early last Saturday morning, when most people here in Bismarck/Mandan were enjoying sleeping in (no doubt dreaming about catching HUGE fish) - there was a High School fishing tournament underway at Lake Audubon.

Not just any tournament - North Dakota State High School Fishing State Championship

Each 3 person team consists of one person who is in the 9th grade to 12th grade/ one angler needs to be between the 7th and 12th grade and then finally there is the boat captain (the captain is not allowed to fish). The hours of the event were from the launch at 6:30 am to the weigh-in at 2:00 pm.

Five fish are weighed and there is NO culling

Heather Bullinger and her husband  Scott are the ND SAF Tournament Directors, she gave me a run-down of how the event is run - and for those that are not "schooled" with the word culling, it simply is a term in fishing that means weeding out smaller fish in order to fill up your well. The competition was fierce with schools such as Century High, the Sheyenne Mustangs, Jamestown High, Bismarck Demons, Central Cass Squirrels, Velva, and Washburn (among a few). The experience definitely shows when these teams are out on the lake - most of which have fished there many times before, knowing their favorite spots.

The pre-championship day favorites

The favorites coming into last Saturday's tournament were Logan and Ryan Bullinger - these two brothers from Century High were shooting for their third North Dakota High School Fishing State Championship - and that's exactly how it played out. Total weight for their winning score - 16.47. In second place was the team from Velva High followed by the Central Cass Squirrels in third.

Bullinger brothers automatically qualified for the National Championship in 2022

Big thanks to Heather Bullinger, mother of course to the winning duo. She told me that now since their win last Saturday, they are "automatically qualified for the National Championship in June of 2022, at Lake Pickwick - Florence, Alabama"

Finally, you'll notice the winning picture

Here is my favorite part, Heather finished our interview by saying that the teams that win (like her sons) really only want to be photographed holding their winning catch (rather than a typical trophy)


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