• 73°

OWL to sponsor ‘Bream Buster’ and ‘Catch a Smile’ fishing events

The dream of any angler would be to pull in 30 pounds of bass in a morning’s time.

The dream for many handicapped individuals is just to pull in a big one.

On Friday and Saturday, June 25 and 26, those dreams will come true for many of those who participate in the “Catch a Smile” Bass Fishing Tournament and the “Bream Buster” event, which are sponsored by Outdoors Without Limits (OWL) and Campbell Enterprises.

James Key, event publicity chair, said fishing will be good for the 12 BASS Elite anglers who will fish on Friday and Saturday mornings at Campbell Enterprises lakes in Banks.

“I think that it will take at least 30 pounds each day to win the tournament,” he said.

However, for the anglers, winning the tournament is secondary to educating those with disabilities about activities in the outdoors and offering them the opportunity to participate.

“Each boat will have a professional angler and an individual with special needs,” Key said. “Getting to fish with a pro will be quite an experience for these physically challenged individuals and then, on Saturday, fishing will be free for those with disabilities and we hope to have a huge crowd at the lakes for that.”

The “Catch a Smile” Bass Fishing Tournament is a national OWL event but the “Bream Buster” event is sponsored by the Pike County OWL Chapter.

“We’ve been in on this since the beginning,” said Terry McPherson, chapter president. “The idea was to have the two events at the same place. We want to break down the barriers that might exist by providing those with disabilities opportunities to participate in outdoor activities. The ‘Bream Buster,’ from 8 until 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, will be a great opportunity and a lot of fun.”

McPherson said the “Bream Buster” event is open to handicapped individuals of all ages.

“It’s free and we will provide them with a bream pole, if they don’t have one, and crickets. We’ll also host lunch for them,” McPherson said. “They will get to fish, watch the professionals weigh-in at 11:30 and then enjoy lunch with the pros. It will be a fun morning for everyone.”

McPherson said there’s no pre-registration for the “Bream Buster” event. Each physically challenged individual may bring one person to assist him or her and admission and lunch will be free for that person also.

The pubic is invited to attend both days of fishing. There will be a designated viewing area for those who want to watch the pros fish. Admission to the weigh-ins at 11:30 each day is $5 and includes lunch.

The public is also invited to attend the “Welcome Party and Meet and Greet” at 6 p.m. Friday at Cattleman Park. The event includes a barbecue dinner and a silent auction. Hank Parker, OWL national spokesperson, and “The Michael Jordan of Fishing” will be the featured speaker.

“The professional anglers will have their boats parked outside and we’ll have tables set up inside where they will sign autographs,” McPherson said.

Tickets for the Welcome Party are $20 for adults, $35 for couples and $10 for ages 12 and under. Tickets are available at Troy Sports Shop and Cabin by the Lake.

“We invite everyone who enjoys fishing to be a part of this two-day tournament,” McPherson said. “We are very fortunate to have 12 of the top anglers in the country competing. Several of these guys just finished a tournament in Oklahoma and some of them are ranked in the top ten nationally. So this tournament is a big deal. We hope to have a large number of disabled individuals fishing on Saturday and a large crowd out to watch the pros fish and at the weigh-in both days.”