Twelve years ago the Fleet Farm Minnesota Fishing Challenge came to be as a way to raise funds for the Brainerd Campus of Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge.

It has become more successful than anyone could have imagined, organizers said in a news release. In 2019, 500 anglers raised $421,000 to help free people trapped in addiction. The event has been characterized by fun and fellowship and of course fishing on the Gull Lake chain. The weigh-ins have been exciting and well-attended.

The 12th annual event on May 30 will look a lot different. The pre-tournament meeting will take place online, and the anglers will fish their home waters rather than traveling to Gull Lake. A smartphone app will keep track of their fish and the standings throughout the day.

“This tournament is about more than fishing,” said tournament director Bernie Barringer in a news release. “It’s about freeing people from the chains of addictions and restoring broken families, but we still wanted to allow the anglers to enjoy the fun part. This app will allow us to have the event, even though it has a different feel to it.”

“The Fishing Challenge is truly a God-blessed, God-anointed thing,” said tournament host Al Lindner in a news release. “It has changed so many lives in so many ways for so many years and I’m excited that it’s going to be on again this year even though it’ll be a little different.”

Anglers will be able to choose which fish they target and can compete in one of four categories from their local waters: The Navillus Land Company Walleye Division, the Pinnacle Private Wealth Panfish Division, the Lindner Media Bass Division and the Nor-Son Pike Division winners. Anglers will enter the lengths of their fish into the app while taking a photo of the fish on a ruler, then the app submits a time and date stamped photo to display in the results. The top 10 in each division will receive great prize packages. The top three student angler teams will each receive $1,000 college scholarships from SeaFoam.

Friends, family and any other interested parties can follow the results throughout the day of fishing by going to fishingchallenge.org and look for Tournament Results link.

There are openings for more two-person teams to fish the event. Registrations are accepted until noon on Friday May 29. Go to fishingchallenge.org to register.

Additionally, each team that raised at least $500 will be entered into a drawing for a new Lund boat powered by Mercury and outfitted with Humminbird and Minn Kota electronics.

The money raised in this event allows Minnesota Adult & Teen Challenge to accept addicts regardless of their ability to pay. Lives are saved and families are restored through the Minnesota Fishing Challenge.

For more information about the event, go to www.fishingchallenge.org or call tournament Barringer at 218-820-8459.