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'It's just been absolutely crazy:' Fargo-Moorhead nail salon owner winning big on National Walleye Tour

A 42-year-old Fargo-Moorhead business owner has seen success on the National Walleye Tour, but it is his success with cuticles and acrylics that helped pave the way to fishing tournament wins.

Polished Nails Spa owner Tom Huynh working on a person's nails.
Ryan Longnecker / WDAY News

MOORHEAD — Sometimes our career path and our hobbies turn into the best possible life story out there.

"This is Moorhead, Minnesota's Tom Huynh, your day one leader after sacking up a limit yesterday at 16.16 (pounds)," an announcer said during a 2021 broadcast of the National Walleye Tour.

Huynh never dreamed of moments like these — not only on big water and rivers, but getting big wins recently on the National Walleye Tour.

"Fish No. 1, two minutes in. That is a start," Huynh says on the tournament broadcast.

"My goal for the year is to make the championship. Now that I got here, I've thought about, maybe, trying to win it," Huynh said.


Now, getting ready for more upcoming summer walleye tournaments, even Tom is a little surprised at all the successes.

"It's just been absolutely crazy, but I am putting in the time," Huynh said.

"I started fishing as a little kid down in Arkansas, on the farm ponds with my grandpa and my mom and my uncle," Huynh recalled. "Always wanted to fish out of a boat, but never had the opportunity because we didn't have the means for a boat."

But when Huynh isn't bringing in the walleyes and trophies on the National Walleye Tour, he is busy operating, even working at his chain of successful nail salons, Polished Nail Spa.

After stringing together a dominant season last year on the National Walleye Tour, Woonsocket native turned pro angler Duane Hjelm got off to a good start this year on the Illinois River.
“It’s a huge economic benefit for the town. We are excited for this big event,” Cindy Broyhill said of the June 22-23 tournament in 2023.
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Hjelm's success on the water has helped the South Dakota pro walleye angler amass over $300,000 this year competing on the National Walleye tour, powered by a first place tournament finish and two second place finishes.
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“This was a whole new world for me at first, and I love it,” said Duane Hjelm, a South Dakota pro angler who got his start in walleye fishing on small bodies of water.
There are five South Dakota pro anglers – Ted Takasaki, Brian Bashore, Mike Zell, Justin Sieverding and Duane Hjelm – who are among the top 40 in the Angler of the Year standings
“I’ve been fishing here since I was a teenager, and it feels great to get my first National Walleye tour win on this body of water,” said Brookings angler Dustin Kjelden.
“I’d say every two to three years, we will be coming back here. It’s just too good,” Tournament Director Anthony Wright said of the Chamberlain-Oacoma area
"I like that I can just grab my poles and gear and head out here to fish after a day of work and not have to get everything ready like you do for a boat," said Dana Dozark, a local angler who fishes the Missouri River shorelines.
“It was a good day on the river. We mixed it up a bit today,” Austin Earley said of the fishing tactics that he used to reel in five walleye weighing in at a combined 18 pounds.
This is the second straight year the NWT is holding an event in Chamberlain

"I never thought I'd do fingernails," Huynh said. "I come from a cattle farm in Arkansas to go into school for computers and I'm like, 'what am I going to tell my friends, that I am doing fingernails.'"

You guessed it, he gets a few funny looks from fishing competitors.

"That's the same color as my boat," Huynh said to a customer at Polished.

"Especially when I started winning tournaments and that question would come up and people would be like, 'Really? really?' Now people think it is cool," Huynh said.


But Huynh's success has allowed him to take his favorite hobby on the water, bringing home awards he only dreamed about.

And that grandfather in Arkansas who taught him to fish years ago? You bet he'd be proud.

"He would just think it's amazing," Huynh said.

You have the chance to meet Huynh at the Scheels Fish Fest on Friday, May 6, at 11a.m. at the Scheels parking lot on 45th Street. He is also a guest on the Scheels Outdoors Podcast.

Kevin Wallevand has been a Reporter at WDAY-TV since 1983. He is a native of Vining, Minnesota in Otter Tail County. His series and documentary work have brought him to Africa, Vietnam, Haiti, Kosovo, South America, Mongolia, Juarez,Mexico and the Middle East. He is an multiple Emmy and national Edward R. Murrow award recipient.

Contact Email: kwallevand@wday.com
Phone Number: (701) 241-5317
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