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Area high school anglers win fishing event on the Mississippi

Treyton Thesing of Dover-Eyota and Brady Grupa of La Crescent-Hokah teamed up to win the MLF High School Fishing Open on the Mississippi River near La Crosse last weekend.

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Treyton Thesing (left) of Dover-Eyota and Brady Grupa of La Crescent-Hokah teamed up to win the MLF High School Fishing Open on the Mississippi River near La Crosse last weekend. Their top five bass weighed in at 14 pounds, 5 ounces and they now qualify for a national tournament next June at the same spot on the Mississippi.
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La CROSSE, Wis. — Treyton Thesing and Brady Grupa knew where the fish were during the MLF High School Fishing Open on the Mississippi River, they just had to get them to bite.

Thesing, a 2022 graduate of Dover-Eyota High School, and Grupa, who just finished his sophomore year at La Crescent-Hokah, overcame a slow start as the duo captured the Major League Fishing event last weekend. The event was held on the Mississippi River in the La Crosse area.

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This marks the third time Thesing and Grupa have teamed up to fish in this event. They had a top-five finish in 2020. They beat out 43 other teams to win this year's competition and earn a berth in a national competition next year.

“We just kept getting beat by the same kids so it was nice to finally win,” Grupa said.

It was a bass fishing event. Anglers fish for about seven hours and each team’s score is based on the weight of the five biggest bass that they catch.

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The event began at 6:30 a.m. this past Saturday and the fishermen were due back in for their weigh-in at 2 p.m. At 11:30 a.m., Grupa and Thesing had caught just two fish.

“We caught our first two fish right away and then we did a lot of running around,” Thesing said. “We hit a bunch of spots and then finally at 11:30 that’s when it started picking up and we found our fish.”

Thesing has fished in that spot in the Mississippi a lot over the past year, including in some tournaments. A college event had been held the day before the high school competition and Thesing was hoping that his best spots were still well stocked.

“Trey fishes in a bunch of tournaments on this part of the river and I fish all the time around here so we know where to go,” Grupa said. “This time of the year is really tough for fishing.”

The duo, using a bass boat owned by Thesing’s father, ended up catching about a dozen bass. Their top five weighed in at 14 pounds, 5 ounces and they bested the runner-up team by more than two pounds.

“It felt good,” Thesing said. “I’ve been fishing there in La Crosse quite a bit this year.”

Thesing won another tournament earlier in the year with a different partner. This was the first tournament that he and Grupa have won together. Both began fishing at a young age with family members. Thesing and his father used to go up north to fish for muskies before he decided he wanted to try competitive fishing.

Grupa and Thesing are also multiple-sport athletes in high school. Grupa plays baseball and basketball at La Crescent-Hokah. He will be a junior during the 2022-23 school year.

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Thesing was a wrestler and football player at Dover-Eyota. As a senior, he helped D-E place fourth in the state in wrestling in Class A. He also earned an individual state berth and finished with more than 100 career wins.

Grupa and Thesing now qualify for the 2023 High School Fishing National Championship. The event will be held in La Crosse on the Mississippi River, June 20-24, 2023.

“So we should actually have a very good shot of winning it,” Grupa said.

Thesing should get plenty of practice time. He plans to attend Western Technical College in La Crosse this fall so he can fish on the Mississippi.

“During June it’s a fun time to fish,” Thesing said. “It’s going to be tough, but we’ll be on fish, I know that.”

Guy N. Limbeck is a Rochester native who has been working at a daily newspaper since 1981. He has worked at the Post Bulletin since 1999. Readers can reach Guy at 507-285-7724 or glimbeck@postbulletin.com.
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