St. Jude Bass Classic Recap: Tournament Anglers Raise Over $872,000 and Northland Pro Takes Top-Ten

For 26 years, the Dick Hiley St. Jude Bass Classic has cultivated a community that has become a family and brought anglers and supporters from across the country to Wabasha, Minnesota for a weekend that's a highlight for so many. Raising over $1 million in 2023, and over $7.6 million in its lifetime, the Dick Hiley St. Jude Bass Classic is the largest charity bass-fishing tournament of its kind, not only for St. Jude, but in the country.

This two-day tournament, which takes place on the Mississippi River and is hosted by the City of Wabasha, features a weekend full of activities, including live weigh-ins on both Saturday and Sunday, a celebratory dinner banquet on Saturday evening featuring a St. Jude Mission Moment, fundraising awards and much more.  The tournament concludes on Sunday afternoon with an awards ceremony, where the winning team has the chance to walk away with $25,000 (with qualifying fundraising).

Northland Fishing Tackle was thrilled to join the event in 2024 as a partner.  “For years, we have kept hearing about just how impactful the St. Jude Bass Classic is, and that is so much more than a bass tournament,” said Jace Peterson, Marketing Manager of Northland Fishing Tackle.  “This was my first year attending the event, and I can tell you that it will not be my last, from the weigh ins to the amazing banquet, and even the morning blast off’s, this event rivals any national level bass tournament.”

Anglers from across the Midwest, including Northland Tackle Pro Glenn Walker came together to raise over $870,000 during this two-day event.  All proceeds from the tournament benefit St. Jude, where families never receive a bill for the efforts that are needed to help their children beat cancer.

“You would be hard pressed to find a better cause than that of raising funds for St. Jude Children’s Hospital,” stated Glenn, who also serves on the Dick Hiley St. Jude Bass Classic Tournament Committee.  “An incredible facility that does whatever it takes to help children and their families during the most difficult time of their lives. For this reason, the participants of the Dick Hiley St. Jude Bass Classic continually put forth an amazing effort, and I am honored to play a small role in the success of this amazing event.”

Glenn Walker and his tournament partner, Jeremiah Shaver raised over $50,000 this year, which put them as the fourth highest fundraising team.  Walker has fished the event for 13 years and in that time has raised over $208,000 for St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Other familiar faces that raised funds for the event and competed were Jack Gavin and tournament partner, Timmy Peterzen.  Jack, along with Glenn work for Providence Marketing Group who works with Northland Fishing Tackle.  Longtime tournament angler, guide, and Northland Pro Staff Tom Whitehead and tournament partner Jim Smith are longtime participants.  Although he was unable to fish this year, Northland VP of Operations, Rick Billings helped raise funds for his competing partner Tom Hoeft.

Much like many other days that the Midwest has seen this spring, the anglers were dealt less than favorable conditions from Mother Nature, rain, and wind.  But this did not hamper the fishing on pools four and five of the Mississippi River.  Numerous big limits (six bass) were weighed in, with the team of Cody Wiemann and Josh Aitken taking the day one lead with a mega limit of smallmouth totaling 23.95 lb’s.  Northland Tackle Pro Glenn Walker, and tournament partner Jeremiah Shaver brought in a healthy limit weighing 18.75 lb’s, landing them in 28th place for the day.

No wind, high skies, warming temperatures and FOG greeted the 76 teams on the morning of the second day of the Dick Hiley St. Jude Bass Classic.  Teams were originally scheduled to blast off at 7:00 am, but with little to no visibility on the Mighty Mississippi River, teams were held until around 8:45 when visibility returned.

With new weather conditions, rapidly moving bass, and a shortened fishing day, many of the top teams from the first day struggled to repeat their day one weights.  The team of Adam Bartusek and Bass Talk Live host, Matt Pangrac had nearly identical day one and two weights, with 21.40 lb’s on day one, and 21.45 lb’s on day two, giving them the win, and a first-place prize of $25,000 with a total weight of 42.85 lb’s.  The team fished a variety of spots on both pools four and five, for bedding smallmouth bass, which was a prevalent pattern for many of the top bags from day one.

Glenn Walker and Jermiah Shaver made a big jump following their respectable day one weight, by catching 20.92 lb’s on day two.  This jumped the team from 28th place after day one, for final tournament finish of 7th place with a total weight of 39.67 lb’s.

Click here for full results from the 26th Annual Dick Hiley St. Jude Bass Classic.

On day one, Walker and Shaver covered water to locate shallow water largemouth holding around stumps and patches of matted dead reeds.  Being able to put the bait way back in the flooded trees, and fish it over the matted dead reeds was important to getting bites, so Glenn relied on the Reed-Runner Frog.  “The bites weren’t often, but when you got one it was a quality bass,” said Glenn.  These quality bites included the team’s big bass of the day, a 4.22 lb largemouth.

Reed-Runner Walking Frog (Green Leopard Frog)

Sitting in 28th place after day one, Glenn and Jeremiah knew they needed a big bag on day two to jump up in the standings, so they returned to where they finished up fishing on day one where they caught their bigger bass.  Cooler water temperatures greeted them in their main area, so a quick change in fishing locations was needed.  “We just kept sliding back with the rising water…and the bass, and found a hard bank, that had some hard cover, laydowns and dead reeds around it,” explained Glenn.

Following a few quick bass on the Reed-Runner Frog, the team slowed down and started fishing wacky-rigged Senko’s, both on a traditional hook, and along with the Elite Series Weedless Wacky Jig.  As the shortened fishing day progressed, Walker and Shaver kept pace with a wave of new bass moving into the shallows and progressively increased their six-bass tournament limit throughout the day.  “At times the weighted Weedless Wacky Jig gave that Senko a faster fall rate, and triggered another bass into biting,” said Glenn.

Elite Series Weedless Wacky Jig - Green Pumpkin

Fishing around the heavy cover of laydowns and dead reeds, it was important to get the bass hooked, away from the cover and towards the boat right away.  For frogging, Walker noted that 65 lb Seaguar Smackdown braided line ripped right through the dead reeds, and on his wacky rig, a 20 lb main line of Smackdown braid, connected to a 10 lb Seaguar Gold Label Fluorocarbon leader, allowed him to present the bait subtlety, while still being able to get the upper hand on the bass.

If you are interested in supporting the Dick Hiley St. Jude Bass Classic, or fishing in the 27th Annual event next year (May 3rd – 4th), be sure to reach out to Glenn, and he can get you the information you need.

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