The Angler of the Year

This one felt like it was a long time coming. An angler who’s been a staple of the Champions Tour for years now, and who’s always in the discussion no matter the body of water, Arnold Helgerson. The shallow water expert, and some would say, “dock fishing guru” outlasted our field of incredible anglers to take home this award.

After last year’s Championship, Helgerson admits to feeling a little disappointed in himself for letting the Championship get away from him. He’d been eying up East & West Rush, a local fishery to him, all year. After coming in 2nd to Noah Schultz, he felt a little defeated.

However, taking a step back, he’s realized how special the award he earned in 2023 was. It didn’t dawn on him at the time, but his name was now etched with the likes of Noah Schultz, Matt Thompson, John Figi, and more. The Champions Tour Angler of the Year award is a prestigious one, and it takes a nearly perfect season to achieve this, and Arnold had to be perfect, as he edged out Chad Keller in a tie breaker for the award after both having remarkable seasons.

The Angler Of The Year

“I’ve always wanted to be that guy, who shows up, and people know you,” Helgerson commented. Referring to earning a reputation in Minnesota by talking with your fishing, and a multitude of top finishes. Now, Arnold has done that.

Looking at 2024, Helgerson admits he wasn’t a huge fan of the schedule. However, he did also mention that he tends to have his best seasons and tournaments with new water involved.

“I like new bodies of water,” Helgerson stated. “No one has an advantage at the St. Croix or Okoboji, and I feel like it will be a very even playing field.”

Then the anglers will also be going to Gull Lake, which most know as a powerhouse fishery in the middle of the state of Minnesota. Helgerson has won a Pro-Am event on this lake, and always seems to find himself in contention on this fishery as well. He mentioned that he keeps trying to find more offshore schools on Gull, that he knows can be needed to compete, and over the years has learned a few new things in the Brainerd Area that he feels like he will be able to exploit to adjust to the conditions.

The Angler Of The Year

Speaking of Pro-Am, Helgerson will also be fishing the event on Lake Mille Lacs in June. Although this event won’t necessarily be in his wheelhouse, he’s looking forward to learning more about the lake. This event is a great opportunity for someone to make a lot of money, and anyone can win it.

“You don’t need to be on a school of 100 fish for this event,” Helgerson commented. “Someone could get 8 bites all day, and be the right ones.”

This event is focused around giving back to the High School Marshalls that make the Champions Tour go. With this Catch, Weigh, Release format Champions Tour Pro’s will be fishing with a randomly paired Amatuer to do the same process. This time, the Reel LiveWell App will automatically be keeping track of their biggest 8 fish limit. Automatically culling when it is needed. Helgerson mentioned that these SATT and High School anglers have a lot of experience on Mille Lacs from events over the past several years, and he thinks that the Amateurs’ experience could play a big part in whatever team ends up bringing home the win.

However the Pro-Am does go down, this will be an awesome event to fish with the High School Anglers and give back for what all they’ve done.