When we started planning it, we hoped to get ten or so people together for a small tournament to raise a few bucks for our local Heroes on the Water chapter, enjoy the fellowship that comes with getting together with like-minded people, and give away a couple hundred dollars’ worth of prizes.
To our surprise, as the date of the event neared, more and more people started signing up. We ended up with thirty three registered anglers. We were absolutely floored by the amount of support we received from our sponsors and the community. Given the better than expected response, Wildcat Creek Outfitters, Nurpu River and Mountain Supply, Menards, Hook1, and TFO really brought their “A” game and provided nearly $1000 worth of gear and gift cards for us to give away as prizes.
While I knew there was a chance of rain the morning of the tournament, it was small chance, and I remained optimistic we would have good fishing weather. I awoke the morning of the event to the sound of rain pouring onto the roof of my house, and my heart sank. A short while later, I stood in my garage after getting all the last-minute details wrapped up, rain pouring and lightning striking repeatedly. My heart sank even deeper. I was afraid all the hard work that had been put into the planning of the tournament would be for naught. I had the same feeling I did when we starting planning the event: hoping for ten people to show up.
I arrived at the launch site about forty five minutes before scheduled launch, rain still coming down hard. But to my surprise, there were already about a half dozen people there, ready and willing to fish in the rain, along with the folks from our local Heroes on the Water chapter who had traveled over two hours to be at the event.
We began signing in anglers. As we did, more and more people started flooding in - much like the rain, which showed no signs of letting up. In total, twenty five of the registered thirty three anglers braved the rain to come out and support our local HOW chapter. Luckily, for a short while Mother Nature was on our side. We got a break in the rain around 8:30am, and decided to launch. It rained on and off for the rest of the day. While the day was less than ideal for fishing, and no monsters were caught, most anglers were able to manage at least one fish. Here are the results of the tournament, which was based on each angler’s best two bass.
- Keenan Chamberlain 28 ¼”
- Tom Moore 27 ½”
- Dan Whitley 27”
- Jason Young 26 ¼”
- Chase Page 25”
The winner of the big bass pot was Tom Moore with a 15 ¼” bass, and the prize for the biggest panfish went to Mike Denzel with a 10” crappie. With the biggest bass, Tom won a $100 gift card to Wildcat Creek Outfitters, which he immediately donated to Heroes on the Water! That was the icing on the cake for a day of unanticipated success!
I cannot express the gratitude I feel for our sponsors, supporters, the folks from our local Heroes on the Water chapter, and especially the twenty five anglers who braved the elements to come out and fish. We raised about $800 for our local Heroes on the Water chapter, plus the $100 gift card. As I said before, I am unbelievably impressed with our local kayak fishing community. I hope this event is a jumping-off point for similar events in the future, and I look forward to hosting another event (or two) next year!