21st Annual Buddy Fishing Tournament lures in anglers

15 Jun 2009 | Jason M. Webb

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga., opened its gates Saturday for the 21st annual Buddy Fishing tournament at Covella Pond.

Free and open to the public, the tournament hosted eligible anglers between the ages of four-15 who competed for trophies in several categories such as largest fish and most fish. The most fish category was judged by the combined, overall weight of all fish caught by an individual. 

This year, anglers took home 946 pounds of fish, 402 pounds more than last year’s contest, and had 137 registered children competing in their respective boys or girls categories.    

For firsttime fisherman Brett Clark Jr., 5, his expression was pure elation as he landed his first fish, a channel catfish, in less than five minutes after the tournament started. 

“What do I do with it Dad?  Can I eat it now?” he asked.

Other children like Melissa Franks, 9, found catching the fish exciting, but wanted nothing to do with actually touching the “slimy” fish. 

“Catching them is fun, but I’m not going anywhere near them,” she said. “That’s Dad’s problem.”

Her father sat idly by as his daughter pulled them in and did his fatherly duty of baiting her hook and collecting the “slimy” fish in an old five-gallon paint bucket filled with pond water.

According to Al Belanger, game warden, Natural Resources Branch, Installation and Environment Division, MCLB Albany, his office stocked the pond earlier this year approximately 4,000 pounds of various sized channel catfish and fed them daily for the last three months before the tournament.

One of those various sized catfish appeared midway through the two and-a-half hour tournament when Samantha Chaffee, 7, pulled in the largest fish of the day when she caught a 7 pound 8 ounce channel catfish. This also won her the largest trophy of the day.  When asked what she was going to do with such a large fish she simply replied with a smile “I’m going to eat it of course.”

In all, the base awarded 12 trophies in the boys and girls categories. 

Trophies were provided by the Staff Noncommissioned Officers Wives Club through funds raised from sales at the Base Thrift Store. They also provided concessions during the tournament.

Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany