MASON — Fishing fanatics from all over will be gathering in Mason this weekend for the 22nd Annual Bend Area C.A.R.E. (Community Assistance and Relief for Everyone)/Budweiser Catfish Tournament.
Beginning at 7 a.m. on Saturday, June 2, at the Mason Levee, those wishing to participate must be registered by 6:15 a.m. on the morning of the tournament. Weigh-in is scheduled for 4 p.m. at the levee, with the awards ceremony following. There will be over $4,000 in prize money awarded, and participants must register in two person teams. There will also be several other family activities throughout the day.
As with any official tournament, there are a set of rules to follow. This tournament includes the following rules and regulations.
- The committee can only accept entries that list a two-member team (only exception are kids 10 years and under or adults 70 and over may accompany the two-person team, in those cases, three people would be allowed in the boat). There is no age limit on participants, all ages are welcome. Each participant is required to have a valid fishing license.
- The tournament will be limited to those applications received and recorded by the deadline, June 2, 2012, at 6:15 a.m. Even if pre-registered, all teams must register in person with tournament staff the morning of the tournament by 6:30 a.m.
- Team members will fish from the same boat, there will be no bank fishing permitted. There will be only one team per boat. It will be prohibited for any boat to give or offer fish to any other boat. It is also prohibited for any boat to accept fish not actually caught by them during the tournament, or to suggest to another boat they offer their fish as a gift. Any infraction of this rule will disqualify all teams involved from this and all future tournaments sponsored by Bend Area C.A.R.E.
- All fish must be caught on rod and reel only. Any legal catfish bait will be permitted.
- We have the right to check all livewells prior to starting the tournament. Boats must be a minimum of 12 feet in length. Safe boating must be observed at all times. All boats and motors must meet required United States Coast Guard standards. Each contestant must wear an approved life preserver during the tournament take-off. We recommend that life preservers be worn any time the motor is running. All boats must be operated in a safe and courteous manner at all times.
- No trailering of boats from one fishing location to another will be permitted. You may launch your boat at another ramp. However, all boats must start from the water at the Mason Levee. Locking through will be permitted.
- Fishing hours will be Saturday 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Contestants will be permitted to fish only during tournament hours. The tournament will start at 7 a.m. sharp. Any team not at the levee by 7 a.m. will be disqualified. (There may be some exceptions to this rule.)
- All scoring will be determined by weight. There will be a five-fish limit with an 24-inch minimum length for each team. All fish must be alive; dead fish will not be weighed. There will be an eight-ounce penalty for each fish brought to the scales under the 24-inch minimum. Money will be paid for first through tenth place for the most weight of a team’s total number of fish. The Big Cat Money will be awarded to the team with the single heaviest catfish. All types of catfish will be scored.
- Upon closing of the scales, the leaders of the most weight and the Big Cat will undergo a mandatory polygraph test. Upon successfully passing the polygraph, the teams will be declared the winners. Other winners may be subjected to the polygraph at the discretion of the Tournament Rules Committee.
- Teams who fail to appear at the official check-in site on time (4 p.m. sharp) will be penalized one pound per five minutes up to fifteen minutes. After fifteen minutes (4:15 p.m.), the team will be disqualified. Boat and motor problems will not be a valid excuse.
- All valid protests will be heard and considered by the Rules Committee. Any team wishing to lodge a protest against the score of another team must do so in writing, and it must be signed by the protester within 30 minutes following the day’s official check-in time.
- In case of a tie for any of the positions, the winner will be the team that had the heaviest fish. If this does not resolve the tie, we will then go to the flip of a coin.
- Sportsmanship will be paramount at all times. Consideration at all times for the rights of other teams must be displayed by everyone. Courtesy is the word for this and all tournaments sponsored by the Bend Area C.A.R.E.
- For the safety of all involved, Bend Area C.A.R.E. will only accept 125 boats in the tournament.
It was reported that teams travel to this tournament from all over, including fishermen and women from West Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Michigan, Illinois and the Carolinas. In addition to becoming one of the most popular catfish tournaments in the Eastern United States, the proceeds from this tournament will go towards local families in need during the Christmas season.
The Bend Area C.A.R.E. organization works to help families and individuals in need in Mason County, and the proceeds from this tournament will benefit the Kids for Christmas Program. It was reported this fishing tournament normally raises around 70-80 percent of the total money used in the Kid for Christmas Program, and the Bend Area C.A.R.E. organization was able to spend over $14,000 last year to help out over 20 families, which included around 100 children.
The local Budweiser distributor, Proud Eagle Distributing, is the primary sponsor of this year’s event.
For more information on tournament rules, entrance fees, and registration, contact Elvis Zerkle at 304-593-1337.