All the boat prep is finished, the rods are strapped down, cameras are running and the life vests are fastened, so it’s almost time to go for this weekend’s tournament. There’s nothing new or unusual about that. It’s a pretty normal weekend event for thousands of bass fishermen almost every Saturday or Sunday during 8 or 9 months of the year. But as my partner and I sat waiting on them to call our boat number on this particular weekend’s Catch-A-Dream Bass Classic, I realized that this one was special.
Over the year’s, I’ve fished hundreds of tournaments but this particular event is special. Way back in 1977, this was the first bass tournament I ever fished. It was called the Have A Heart Classic back then, but other than a different charity, it’s the same event. That rainy day back in May of 1977 was special is so many ways. It was the start of a lifelong obsession with competition and bass fishing.
There have been changes to the boats, motors, electronics, rods and reels but the fishermen are the same. Don’t get me wrong, the names and faces for the most part have changed. But it’s still a group of men and women who love fishing, are looking for a little competition and want to help out a great organization while having a great day on the water.
For me, it’s a relaxing tournament. I had no expectations of doing well on a lake that I haven’t spent more than a few hours practicing and hadn’t fished for a whole day in over a year. Points and even money are not the goal of the day. Today was about fishing with a friend, helping raise some money and spending time on the water. We didn’t do well (although we had enough quality bites to get in the money), but we did accomplish all those goals.
And more importantly, the tournament was a huge success. It raised over $53,000 for the Catch-A-Dream Foundation, as well as an additional $12,000 from a Shotgun Jamboree that was held in conjunction with the tournament. Catch-A-Dream does great work providing children with life-threatening illnesses with hunting and fishing trips and I’m happy to spend some of my time and fishing budget helping out a great cause.
The 2013 version of this tournament is already scheduled for May 5, 2013 and hopefully I’ll be home during that weekend and can fish it again. You can find more information about Catch-A-Dream at their website, http://www.catchadream.org/, and the tournament at http://bassclassic.catchadream.org/. Check them out and help out if you can.
Thanks to the sponsors who make this all possible: Scoutlookweather.com, Lowrance Electronics, Phoenix Bass Boats, BoatUS Angler, Power Pole, Costa del Mar Sunglasses, Bass Angler Magazine and Mississippi Van Lines. Without all of you, none of this would be possible.