MASON, W.Va. — A new fishing series, the first of its kind for the Town of Mason, will begin next month at the Stewart-Johnson V.F.W./Lottie Jenks Memorial Park.
The “Bend Area Bank Catfish Tournaments” are being organized by Jack Reitmire, Jr., and will run from March until October.
There will be a total of 12 tournaments with cash awards given out in each one for first, second, and third place, as well as for the longest single fish. Places will be determined by the total length of fish caught in the allotted time. Registration is $25 per person for each date, and the payout will be determined by the number of participants.
At the end of the dozen tournaments, the top 20 teams will compete in a “fish off” tournament. Anglers can compete in as few or as many tournaments as they wish, but points will be tallied each tourney to determine the top teams.
Fishermen will meet at the park at the beginning of each tournament. They will need a bump board to measure their catch for that day. The boards will be certified at each registration period.
Once registered, participants can fish anywhere in West Virginia or Ohio. At the end of the event, phone photos will be sent in and winners will return to the park for their prizes.
There is a 9-rod limit, and Reitmire said that can be one person with all nine rods, or a number of people. He added the event is set up to be family friendly, with no alcohol permitted, so children or elderly can also participate. Reitmire said there is a 3-rod per person limit in Ohio, so those wishing to fish there will need at least three people. West Virginia has no limit. All participants must also have a current fishing license for the state they are fishing in.
Reitmire said he has participated in tournaments in both Charleston and Morgantown, but wanted to branch out to the local area due to the great fishing here. He added the last two state record blue catfish were caught in the Robert C. Byrd pool of the river.
Tournaments will be held at different times throughout the season. He said they will be mainly daytime events in the spring when the fish come to the shallows where it is warmer. In the summer, tournaments will go to evenings because that is when the fish come from the deeper waters to the shallows to feed.
Reitmire is currently accepting sponsorships and the funds will be added to the payouts to get it established. There is also a Facebook page, “Bend Area Bank Catfish Tournaments.” Reitmire will go live on the page on Feb. 26 at 6:30 p.m. to go over the rules.
Tournament dates, fishing times, and sign up times are as follows:
March 12 and March 26, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., sign up at 8 a.m.;
April 9, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., sign up at 7 a.m.;
April 23, 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., sign up at 6 a.m.;
May 7 and May 21, 3 to 11 p.m., sign up at 2 p.m.;
June 4, June 18, Aug. 6, Aug. 20, 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., sign up at 4 p.m.;
Sept. 3, 1 to 9 p.m., sign up at noon; and,
Sept. 17, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., sign up at 8 a.m.
The fish off tournament will be a two-day event on Oct. 1 and 2. The first day will run from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and the second day from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. Awards will be presented on Oct. 2 at 4 p.m. at the park.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at [email protected]