Crossett Bass Club held its Annual Youth Tournament on Saturday, July 30, at Felsenthal/Crossett Harbor. David Cameron organized the event for the club, and it was easy to see why he enjoys it.
The club has held the tournament every year for nearly half a century, which reflects an avid and continuous interest in the sport enjoyed by the youth of the community.
The tournament opened at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning, with the participants required to be in the weigh-in line by noon.
A parent or guardian was required to accompany each participant, and it’s safe to say that some, if not all, of the competitors in Saturday’s tournament were introduced to fishing by their parents or other family members.
The competitors worked hard on their own for their results. Some parents could be heard telling each other their children’s fish tales, as they were there with them in the boats to witness all the details.
The rules for the tournament stated that “no adult or guardian may cast, reel, or help contestants with fish in any way with the exception of dipping up fish, tying of lures, operating of motor, and repairing equipment.”
It was clear these young anglers were full of enthusiasm and were enjoying taking part in the sport.
People like sharing the pastimes that make them happy, and enjoy passing along their knowledge on that subject whenever they can. Bass fishing is no exception.
The contestants were separated into two age groups: 6-12 years, and 13-17 years. They were competing for the payoffs, which were 1st through 5th and Big Bass, for both age groups.
The rules specified that the competitors must use only artificial lures, with the exception of prepared pork rind.
There was a minimum 13” length limit on Largemouth Bass, but no minimum length of Spotted/Kentucky Bass.
The fish were released after weigh in as per the rules of the tournament.
There were 14 competitors in the 6-12 year old age group, and five of them caught fish.
There were 13 competitors in the 13-17 year old age group, and eight managed to reel in a fish (or three).
Winners for 6-12 year old age group:
1st place: Brantlee Hanry
3.110 lbs total, also won biggest bass for his fish
2nd place: Ethan Hill
1.985 lbs total
3rd place: Ryder Rainwater
1.765 total; also won smallest bass (0.215 lbs)
4th place: Gunner Walthall
1.21 lbs total
5th place: Bennett Pennington
0.575 lbs total
Winners for 13-17 year old age group:
1st place: Jackson Gee 8.995 lbs total
2nd place: Hayden Jones 8.468 lbs total
3rd place: Evan Lee 7.550 lbs total
4th place: Jared Santiny 5.175 lbs total, also biggest bass (4.755 lbs) and smallest bass (0.405 lbs)
5th place: Gauge Walthall 3.850 lbs total
After the winners were given their prizes, everyone stopped to say grace before diving into the hamburgers and hot dogs that were being served up to the contestants and their families, who had all worked up an appetite from the morning’s activities.
Cameron gave cooking credit to Willie Johnston, who successfully served up enough to feed everyone’s appetites.
No young person went home empty handed, thanks to Ingevity, Toyota of Bastrop, and Mark Gray of State Farm Insurance in Monticello, and the plethora of donations they and others provided for this year’s tournament winners and participants.
Kathy Welch from Ingevity was there to accept a plaque on behalf of her organization from the bass club for Ingevity’s continued support and involvement in events such as this one.
Besides the loot the winners took home, there were many other prizes available as well. Every child that was present at the tournament went home with winnings, door prizes, or both.
More importantly, said Cameron, “they all left with a smile on their face.”
Cameron, who is in his second year organizing the event, spoke about how much it means to the youth who participate in events such as this one. Anytime family members can share something they love with their children, it’s bound to be a great experience.