The event raised $13,450.
The catfish community came together on Saturday, August 29 2020 to fish for fun while benefiting a worthwhile cause. The Bryce and Kinley Tormoehlen Cancer Benefit Tournament was staged by the Poor Boy Catfish Tournament Trail. New friends and old shared tears and laughter as 58 teams gathered at the Angel Mounds Boat Ramp in Evansville, IN to compete in the one-day event.
The successful affair was a team effort of the organizers, the anglers, the volunteers, sponsors, and attendees. A total of $13,450 was raised and presented to the Tormoehlen family to aid in paying medical expenses for Bryce and Kinley.
“SeaArk boats donated the prize money along with JP Marine,” reported Carolyn Jones, one of the organizers. “We had several other large sponsors including B’n’M Rods, Driftmaster Rod Holders, Cooks Boats, Jeff Jones Marine, Yammer and Sons Bait, Blackout Bait and Tackle, along with a ton of others.”
“Many local residents came and watched the weigh-in,” continued Carolyn. “The Tormoehlen family was able to attend and Bryce and Kinley got to help with the weigh-in process. They were super excited to be a part of this event.”
When the weights were tallied everyone was a winner as all of the placing teams donated their winnings back to the cause.
First Place (77.80 Pounds)
“There was a great turnout for the event,” said Aaron Wheatley who teamed up with Jody Beavin to win the event. “In fact, it was the biggest charity tournament I ever fished. They had boats from all over. Auctions, raffles, food, they had it all. It was great to see the catfish community come together and support those two children who are fighting cancer.”
Wheatley and Beavin set their strategy without prefishing and stuck with it. They were dragging planer boards all day long to catch 12-15 fish and claim the win.
“We fished an area about 2 miles long in 45-foot water,” reported Wheatley. “We stayed with the planner boards to cover a lot of ground. Pulling boards and dragging used to give about a few yards spread. With planner boards, we were covering more like 70 yards.”
“This time of year, on the Ohio river you want to leave those baits in the water as long as you can,” advised Wheatley. “And if you get on fish, stay on em.’ Don’t leave fish to find fish. We just kept big chunks of skipjack in the water and kept on pounding.”
Their biggest fish came to the boat with little time left in the competition. Just minutes earlier a boat came by and cut off a planer board. They had to decide if they were going to run down that board or keep fishing.
“We decided to keep fishing,” confirmed Wheatley. “A pole went down and a 32-pounder came to the boat with only 20 minutes left to fish. That’s why you fish to the very last minute.”
“We went to fish that tournament and have fun concluded Wheatley. “We knew it was a charity tournament and we just wanted to support it. Just to see the smiles of that family and know they were touched by a bunch of ole catfish anglers made it worthwhile. We didn’t come to win, we just wanted to support the family.”
Second Place (70.10 Pounds)
The runner-up spot went to Jason “Big Cat” Mathenia. Even though he’s busy trying to get his mom (Vicky) healthy again he took time to support the event. He teamed up with Tim Oslay and Isaac Going to make a long trek from the boat ramp to find their fish.
“We traveled 50 miles downstream,” Mathenia said. “We were dead sticking in 45 to 55 feet of water. We used the trolling motor to move upstream at about .6 to 1 mph using mooneye herring for bait. Around 20 fish came to the boat on the day. We missed a couple of good bites too. The biggest blue in our bag weighed 31 pounds. Never got a chance to do any pre-fishing, just went on a hunch.”
“It was a fun event,” concluded Mathenia. “I’m glad I took the time to fish it. It was well run and for a great cause. I want to thank Brent Jones, Carolyn Jones, Steven Hise, and everyone that was part of making this event happen. Thanks also to all who made a donation.”
Third Place (66.55 Total with Big Fish of 51.9 pounds)
Third place and big fish went to Jeremiah Keen and a couple of newcomers to the sport. He teamed up with Gilbert Whitaker and Rowdy Bostick to launch from Angel Mounds boat ramp into the J T Myers pool. Jeremiah had pre-fished in the Newburgh and Cannelton Pools where he found some quality fish in deeper water.
“Based on prefishing I headed to deep water in the J T Myers Pool,” reported Keen. “We were dragging deep channel ledges adjacent to mussel beds and spotted structure. The big fish came early as the bite for us tapered off throughout the day. The 51-pound blue ate a whole skipjack with a fillet cut from one side. The bait was on a double hook rig.”
“This was an awesome event,” concluded Keen. “It was dedicated to the kids and I asked God that morning to keep us all safe and to at least let us place so we could give back to the family. He did just that. I want to give a huge thank you to all the people who made this event possible.”
Biggest Fish: Jeremiah Keen, and Gilbert Whitaker – 51.9 pounds
Biggest Flathead: Randy, Benny, and Larry Graber – 23.25 pounds
Top Finishing Youth: Breyton Sauls
Top Finishing Female: Tyra Williams
The organizers, Brent and Carolyn Jones, Steven Hise, John Ritchie, and Cassie Parson sent out special thanks to all the anglers, volunteers, sponsors, and attendees.
“I want to especially thank Cassie Parson,” added Carolyn Jones. “She smoked 400 pounds of pork and prepared other fixings for the meal.”
“I would like to personally thank each and every angler, spectator, sponsor, and all the volunteers that helped make this year’s event possible,” Brent Jones said. “The benefit tournament is something we all look forward to every year. It’s a great way to get together and fellowship and do some fishing for fun and for a great cause.”
“I want to invite everyone back next year,” concluded Brent. “Plans are already underway. Everything will be about the same except maybe using a different ramp where we have a little more room. In just our second year of this event, we have outgrown the ramp. Thanks again to each and every one of you! I hope to see you all again next year! Take care and tight lines to everyone.”