Anglers reel in some big ones at annual Perry contest

wcrenshaw@macon.comApril 12, 2014 

PERRY -- About the only better way to spend a beautiful spring day than fishing is get paid $1,000 to do it.

The Perry Rotary Club’s annual bass tournament, a Dogwood Festival event, was held Saturday. More than 30 two-man teams spread across Middle Georgia to see who could catch the biggest fish. Weigh-in started at the Go Fish Education Center at 3 p.m., and shortly thereafter the whoppers started coming in faster than lunch time at Burger King.

The overall winner is determined by the total weight of each team’s three largest fish, and that fetched the $1,000 prize.

John Gray Walker and Andy Sparrow weighed in with a total of 16.2 pounds, which was not bad for what Sparrow called his toughest day of fishing in 20 years.

“We caught that one right before we left,” Sparrow said, motioning to the largest fish.

The top prize went to A.J. Jackson and Amory Jackson, whose top three fish weighed 21.1 pounds. The $250 prize for the largest fish went to Orville Newlin, who caught an 8.3 pound bass.

There were three youth categories, and the winners there were Brant Beckham, Grant Morris and John Walker Moore.

The teams can catch fish in any body of water, as long as they do it on the day of the tournament. There’s no way to know that someone didn’t pull some bass out of a tank or trap, so it’s all on the honor system.

The winner can be subjected to a lie detector test, but that has only been invoked once in the 12-year history of the tournament, and that person passed. Organizers said they have generally found anglers in the tournament to be honest folk, aside from perhaps exaggerating the size of the one that got away.

The tournament is the Perry Rotary Club’s largest fundraisers, and much of that money has gone toward Big Indian Creek Park, including a walking trail along the creek. Larry Walker III, who started the bass tournament along with another club member at the time, said the club has put $250,000 into the park and most of that came from the bass tournament.

There was another beneficiary of the tournament. As fishermen were coming out of the weigh-in, many were putting their catches into a large tank on a truck. Those fish where headed to the other side of Interstate 16 for a new home at the Flat Creek Public Fishing Area.

To contact writer Wayne Crenshaw, call 256-9725.

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