Columbus, GA — Bill and Mary Mundt of Jupiter, Florida, are raising a family of anglers. The couple’s two sons, Noah and Austin, both picked up a rod before their second birthdays. Relatively seasoned by grade school, each of the Mundt boys quickly took to the challenge of the CCA STAR scholarship program, where the annual winner receives a check for $25,000 from Realtree Fishing toward the college of their choice.
The rules are simple. Catch, measure, and submit eligible species throughout the 100-day STAR tournament. Every submission earns an entry toward the scholarship drawing. The Mundt boys had worked hard each of the last four years without a win. In 2023, however, 10-year-old Noah cracked the code, becoming the family’s first junior champion.
CCA benefits are well-known to the Mundt family. Regulars at the group’s benefits and fundraisers, the boys’ grandparents have won two fishing rigs in the STAR adult open brackets. Spending equal time on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts, the Mundts are all-around fishing Floridians.
Father Bill Mundt terms it “dedicated weekend anglers.” The Mundt crew finds themselves fishing most weekend days throughout the summer. Regular targets include spotted trout, redfish, and snapper. However, with the unique species offered in the CCA STAR youth division, a number of other fish make it to the measuring board.
“Jacks, ladyfish… a bunch of different types of fish count,” Bill explains. “It keeps the kids involved.”
Such engagement has always been the key to Mundt family plans. Bill and his wife, Mary, focus on light tackle and avoid lengthy trips. “It doesn’t have to be a 12-hour day,” Bill adds. “If it’s three or four hours, and the boys are happy, that’s good enough for all of us.”
Regardless of trip length, the Mundts try to ensure an eligible catch each time out, even if it’s a fish often less desirable to hardcore anglers. Prone to target only food for the table or popular pelagics, many saltwater anglers miss the tremendous opportunities that a hard-pulling jack or leaping ladyfish provides to young anglers. The STAR Tournament includes these deliberately.
“Even if we’re out trolling and we don’t do any good, we always leave enough time to stop and catch something on the way in,” Bill says.
Still, the Mundt boys don’t overrun the tournament with endless entries. Unlike some young anglers, capable of racking up triple digits, the Mundts rely on 25 or so annual submissions to the competition. Part of the fun is the process. “To be honest, we would do it without the prizes. We just like fishing and having a catch to submit,” Bill admits.
Noah and Austin each rely heavily on a tried-and-true inshore rig. “The old Gulp! Shrimp on a jighead,” Bill jokes, “anything with a chartreuse tail.”
Often fishing shallow flats near Cedar Key and Steinhatchee, this combo is a knock-out for the Mundts in the warmer months. Live and dead baits, again rigged on a jig, make up the arsenal when fish are especially picky.
Noah keeps a hungry tarpon atop his bucket list. “For his tenth birthday, we took him tarpon fishing,” Bill reflects. “No luck, but we’ll keep trying.”
For sure, the fishing drive isn’t lacking in the Mundt family. Fair weather and rainy days alike, this summer Austin and Noah will again be on the hunt for eligible species. However, with Noah’s junior winnings now capped at the allotted $25,000, only Austin will be eligible for Realtree’s big prize.
“I would say that, with his brother’s recent win, Austin is now ‘highly motivated’ toward the scholarship,” Bill laughs. And the college of choice?
“Well, my wife and I each went to UCF (The University of Central Florida)…so…,” he adds, “in any case, the win has been truly life changing.”
The Mundts continue as a fishing family, together learning and loving the outdoors.
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