River City Grille, 100.7 KASE 101, 98.1 KVET FM and AM-1300 the Zone hosted the first ever Gone Fishing for Kids Charity Fishing Tournament out of Marble Falls this past Saturday, October 24th and Sunday, October 25th . In addition to the fishing tournament, Gone Fishing for Kids was an entire weekend event highlighted with a concert at Lakeside Park on the banks of Lake Marble Falls. The event proceeds went to assist The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Highland Lakes, The Highland Lakes Legacy Fund and Camp Phoenix.
The two-day fishing tournament was a really unique format. It began at safe daylight on Saturday with anglers reporting to designated check-in stations at one of four possible locations; choice of lakes included Inks Lake, Marble Falls, Buchanan or LBJ. The format allowed the top 15 teams from each lake to fish the second day on LBJ. However, due to huge rains and a large Tuff Man participation, the event drew 22 boats total allowing all teams to fish the second day.
Since Saturday’s qualifying round did not involve set payouts, the anglers created a voluntary big bass side pot to pay three places. Buchanan ruled the day in both total weight and big bass and all three of the winners on Saturday came from Big Buch. In fact, the team of Lance Moody and Justin Brown caught a monster over 8 pounds but unfortunately did not enter the side pot for the big bass contest. Lance Moody was cheerful though when we talked to him at the weigh in. “I’m just happy the good Lord blessed me with a fish like that. This deal isn’t about the money anyway.” What a great attitude and a testament to the spirit of this event! Moody caught the fish with a wacky worm and said “the fish just took the bait and slowly started to swim away”. When Moody saw the line go he set the hook and knew she was a good one. Winning the big bass of the day was the well known team of Kelly Mauldin and Brian Mater with a nice bass over 6 pounds. Most anglers we talked to attribute the better success on Buchanan to the relatively stable and clear water on this lake, as it received less water flow than the other three venues.
Saturday Qualifying Round
The following day all teams checked in at McNair Park on LBJ for the Championship Round. A beautiful clear, crisp morning met the anglers as they unloaded their boats. Last cast was at 2 pm and everyone trailered to Lakeside Park back in Marble Falls for the weigh-in and awards ceremony. The previous day had not been too kind on LBJ and the best weight of the day was just over 12 pounds by the team of Lance Wenmohs and Jesse Fry. But as we know all too well in this game, anything can happen and it certainly did in a big way! Bill Guzman fished alone on day two; and if you’ve been following along lately, you know this guy has been on a roll! Our eyes were on Bill as he lugged his bag to the stage and dumped over 20 pounds, anchored by a 10.84 pound kicker, onto the scales! Bill swept the day in terms of payouts as he won 1st place overall for the guaranteed $2,500 along with a nice big bass check.
We had a chance to talk to Bill at the check ceremony. “I went to the clearer water and fished deeper than most.” LBJ was chocolate milk in most areas, so Bill headed toward the lower end for a little clarity. “Current was a factor; I fished some deeper docks where the pilings were creating eddies and that’s where some of them were…that’s where the big one was!” Bill also caught some of his good keepers on a break line that dropped from 8 to 20 feet on a ridge. Soft plastics worked the best and his better bites came around noon. Congrats again Bill!
Also worth mentioning was Kenneth Everett in second place overall, with a nice bag just over 14 pounds. Congratulations also to Dean Alexander for his 3rd place big bass with a nice 4.5 pounder on Sunday.
Sunday Championship Round
But as mentioned before, this weekend was much more than a fishing tournament. One of the big draws was to be the Kid Fish portion of the event. However, it had to be cancelled due to high water on Hamilton Creek in Burnet. Children ages 15 and under were to learn to fish in a creek stocked by the Federal Fish Hatchery. The Kid Fish is being rescheduled for spring of 2010 and we’ll keep you posted as those details become available.
During the day Saturday educational activities, exhibits and demonstrations were held at Johnson Park in Marble Falls. These were presented by Texas Parks and Wildlife and the LCRA. Activities included kayaking lessons, a personal watercraft simulator, archery, casting lessons, fly fishing instruction and camp site setup procedures.
The weekend’s highlight was a Saturday night concert, where an excellent country music line up was headlined by country music icon Radney Foster. In addition to this incredible live music line-up, Johnson Park hosted a variety of arts and crafts vendors and food and beverage vendors (which we frequented these the most). Opening for Radney first was Brandon Jenkins. His site has him listed as a combination of southern rock, blues, and country. He’s originally from Oklahoma, but we won’t hold that against him too much because he is now based out of Austin. We’ll say this, he’s irreverent, but in a real good way and right up TTZ’s alley. His new album ‘Faster than a Stone’ is out now. When you get a chance, check this band out.
Next up was the Tommy Alverson Band. Alverson is a well known name in Texas country. He won the 2007 Best Country and Western Music Award from Fort Worth Weekly, and is probably best known for his ‘Uno Mas Cerveza’ tune. A prolific songwriter, Tommy even wrote for Waylon Jennings.
Radney Foster ended the evening with an incredible set; he was the anticipated closer of the concert and did not disappoint! Much is made of Radney’s songwriting and producing resume, but as he demonstrated on Saturday he is a heck of a vocalist. Foster has thirteen singles on the Billboard Hot County charts, including the Top Ten hits ‘Just Call Me Lonesome’ (number 10 in 1992) and ‘Nobody Wins’ (number 2 in 1993). He has written for a lot of country greats including Sara Evans, Jack Ingram and Keith Urban. Best known for his song writing and production work, Radney has even performed at the Grand Ole Opry and will be returning soon. Though the crowd was relatively small, we were most impressed with the way Radney gave it 110% and even sang two more songs after they cut the park lights out on him!
Behind it all was the tireless work of local business owner and visionary Paul Brady. “We created Gone Fishing for Kids to encourage adults and youth to get out of the house and connect with nature, foster an appreciation for our precious natural resources and most importantly, give back to the community,” said River City Grille co-owner Paul Brady. “Every single dollar raised at this event will stay in the surrounding communities and benefit organizations that support Highland Lakes youth. It was a great first year for Gone Fishing for Kids. Thanks to all anglers, volunteers and sponsors!” TTZ personally witnessed just a small piece of the time and effort put in by Paul and others like him and just want to say thanks for everything they did.
We were honored to be a part of this year’s event and help in the small way we could. This was the inaugural event and surely will not be the last. In fact, planning has already started for the 2nd annual GFFK; Texas Tournament Zone hopes to be a big part of its success and highly encourage our angling brethren to come out. It’s a good time and an incredible cause. We’ll keep you up to speed as details develop, but mark your calendars now as next year’s event has already been slated for October 9th!
Additional pictures from the tournament and concert are available through the following links: