Hoppin’ turnout at Logan Luft Memorial Fishing Tournament
By John Burbridge
CHARLES CITY — Maybe the fish within the Elks Lodge 418 pond have figured out the annual pattern already.
For three years running around late August, anglers from across the state — even from out of state — have gathered at the water hole for the Logan Luft Memorial Fishing Tournament.
The inaugural tournament drew substantial numbers. And after last year’s tournament was hampered by bad weather, the most recent event — which took place on Saturday — boasted its biggest turnout yet.
However, that didn’t translate into big catches. Previous winners have landed three-pound-plus fish. Top catches for this past tourney were half that size.
It’s like the fish were prepared for the mass pilgrimage and refrained from taking the bait.
But if that was the case, the pond’s frogs and turtles didn’t get the memo.
With the amount of amphibians reeled in, a sub-contest category emerged honoring the longest frog caught.
As for the biggest fish caught, the top-two honors went to Kolben Miller (1.25-pound, 18-inch bass) and Ryder Uhlenhake (1.23-pound, 13-inch bass). Both received kayak grand prizes with Miller given the choice of the two due to his bigger catch.
The tournament was started by Charles City resident Jon Linde shortly after he saw a snapshot of Logan Luft displaying a trophy-size bass he caught. It ran in numerous publications and online sites shortly after the Charles City 15-year-old died in an ATV accident during the Fourth of July in 2017.
A father of kids who — like Logan — love to fish, Linde approached Logan’s surviving family about holding a fishing tournament in Logan’s honor.
The family was hooked, and so was the rest of the community as the inaugural tournament went on to draw an unexpected turnout.
Charles City police officer Leonard Luft, Logan’s father, mentioned that this fishing tournament may be the best of the three.
“We have to give credit to Elks members Jeremy Bahe, Jeremy Rogstad and Brad Sindt,” Luft said. “They did a lot of work out here to get ready for this. They mowed around the pond to make more areas accessible to fishermen … they set up platforms around the pond so people can get to spots more easily.
“And the weather has been great. No rain like last year … not as hot and a nice cool breeze.”
“We helped some,” said Rogstad, who was manning the grill during the event, “but you’ve got to credit to the lodge itself for hosting this.”
One of the functions of the tournament is to raise awareness for organ donation.
Recently, the Luft family proposed a bill entitled “Logan’s Law” which eventually became a state law that allows individuals who become licensed hunters and fishermen to become registered organ donors with those licenses.
At Saturday’s tournament, Wendy Luft, Logan’s mother, introduced several families the Luft family got to know through their kinship from being involved with organ donation. One family benefitted from an organ donation, and the other family had someone who donated organs after an untimely death.
There were several donated items for the event’s silent auction. One of them was an autographed poster of University of Northern Iowa NCAA wrestling champion Drew Foster, who wore a #lufttuff decal on his head gear during one of his matches.
“So naturally he’s one of our favorite wrestlers,” Wendy Luft said.