Forrest LeitchI grew up north of Moorhead, Minnesota along the banks of the Red River, and this is where I currently reside. Ever since I was big enough to crawl around I have been exposed to the outdoors. My father made it a point to get me involved with the outdoors as much as possible, and I am very thankful for that. Some of my best memories growing up were made inside the dark walls of a spearing shelter, looking into a rectangular hole in the ice, waiting for a big pike to come in for a closer look at our decoy. My grandpa taught my dad to spear, and he passed down the tradition to me.
As I got older and was able to become more independent in the outdoors, I spent much of my free time with a bow in my hand chasing after the local turkeys and whitetails. In my high school years, waterfowl hunting became my outdoor passion. I was obsessed with big honkers and greenheads dumping in from the heavens to land perfectly in my decoy spread. I still enjoy waterfowl hunting, deer hunting, turkey hunting, and everything else outdoors, but my truest passion is fishing.
Those of us who share this same addiction know the feeling. Waking up well before the sunrise to get the boat in the water in time for that early morning bite. Staying on the water until the wee hours of the night pulling cranks around under a full moon. Enduring grueling wind, rain, cold, and all other weather conditions just because in the back of your mind you know that the next cast could be the fish of a lifetime. Fishing is my thing, it's what I love to do and one of the things I truly believe I am good at. Along with my love for fishing, I have a passion for sharing this love with others. It is truly an unexplainable feeling watching a new fishermen's eyes light up when you slip the net under their first or largest fish.
I first met Colt Anderson a couple years ago while I was on a camping trip up to Duluth. I was interested in fishing one of the good walleye lakes between home and Duluth, and I had been following Colt on social media for a while. After a short conversation on Facebook, we arranged to fish on Pokegama Lake for a few hours. Dylan Maki joined us for the evening. The fishing was phenomenal, however the catching wasn't so great. Leading up to this trip, my walleye fishing effort beforehand totaled up to less than a few hours. I simply didn't target walleyes. I was very interested in learning more about them, and that short trip taught me a ton about walleye fishing. Every time I fish I try to learn as much as possible, and this short trip was a huge head start.
Fast forward a few years, I am fishing against Colt and Dylan and the rest of the Hang Loose boys in Minnesota's largest single day payout walleye tournament! Hang Loose Outdoors has provided me with an immense amount of fishing knowledge, and I'm very thankful for that. I am honored and humbled to be a part of this elite team. This was my first fishing tournament I have ever participated in, and I am already addicted. The adrenaline, the drive, the roller coaster of emotions, the learning; it is all such an amazing experience.
I am currently pursuing a degree in natural resource management at NDSU, and I hope this will help me land a career that will allow me to educate, promote, and grow the sport of fishing. As far as my fishing career goes, I hope to compete in a number of walleye tournaments around the Midwest and continue teaching myself and others about the exciting sport of fishing.