Today was the inaugural Hooked for Breast Cancer fishing tournament at Sandy River Reservoir to benefit Ms. Nancy McDaniel. All proceeds from the tournament were donated to help the McDaniel family offset the growing costs of treatment for Nancy.
After a tournament briefing and the rules by the benefit organizer Robert, we all launched and headed out. The CPR (Catch, Photo, Release) Division was reserved for the kayak armada that descended upon Sandy River this day. At last count, there were 10 anglers out and about chasing largemouth bass in hopes of returning to the check-in to register their three largest fish on the day. The rules were simple: all bass 12" or over were eligible to be entered, with all bass over 16" recorded for DGIF data.
I pedaled out across the lake on a glass-like surface with nary a soul around me, since the power boat portion of the tournament had long since motored out to their preliminary spots. As I was heading out, I spotted an appealing looking cove with some exposed trees. Sandy River was approximately three feet below normal, so the normal target areas had changed drastically and forced the anglers on this day to choose their target areas carefully.
I opted for three presentations today and promised myself to work them thoroughly and have faith in my decision. I chose: a top water frog, a finesse soft plastic worm and a new bait for me, the Alabama Rig (albeit a small 3 headed casting one not like the monsters seen on the FLW and Elite Series Tournaments). My first cast was at 7:30am, and I had my first fish in the boat at 7:34am. Within the next 35 minutes, I would boat a total of 4 fish all on the topwater frog with only one of the fish measurable. Not a monster at all but a measurable fish is recorded regardless, so the 12" bass was photoed and released.
One measured in at 13.25".....
My prize package included a Fish DV8 custom plaque for 1st Place and $500. I immediately walked over to Nancy and gave her a hug and told her thanks for being there and handed her the $500. I had told myself when I entered the tournament a month ago that any proceeds earned would be donated regardless of the amount. The tournament entries, sponsorships and raffle sales generated over $6000 to donate to the McDaniel family to help them offset some of the costs they are currently burdened with, so the $500 I donated I hope will only help them that much more.
In the end, some might say I was nuts for giving that large of a prize purse away, but I firmly believe that a benefit tournament should be just that - to benefit a worthy cause. Maybe if we all felt that way, we could all start "getting hooked to beat cancer" and any number of other worthy benefits out there.
Tight lines and safe boating!