Local fishing tournament celebrates 30 years of fun, camaraderie
Years ago, I was fishing a public lake near my home in northern Oakland County when I ran into a childhood buddy. We’d kept in contact but hadn’t fished together in quite a while, so we made plans to get together and wet a line in the near future.
About a week later, I was on that same public lake when I ran into another childhood pal. I recounted my recent encounter with our mutual friend and suggested that we should all get together go fishing. He agreed, but we left it at that.
The wheels started turning.
A couple days later, I visited yet another neighborhood chum, Bill Edwards. The seed had been planted and I shared my idea with him.
We decided to hold a small, invitational fishing tournament, open only to our group of childhood pals and their respective fishing partners.
We all grew up in a rural subdivision called Bunny Run, in the town of Lake Orion. Lake life was a huge part of growing up there.
We had Long Lake for fishing and swimming. We also had nearby Bunny Run Lake available for fishing and trapping, along with the connecting canal. Our subdivision bordered the Bald Mountain Recreation Area so we also had hiking, hunting, more fishing and general exploring opportunities, literally, right in our backyards.
The bottom line is that nearly every kid in the subdivision enjoyed the outdoors as we were growing up. Convincing them to participate in a fishing tournament against their ol’ friends was a slam dunk.
We held our first tournament in August of 1990 and have held one each year since, on the same weekend in August. We hold it on a nearby public lake because we all don’t have access to Long Lake anymore. We usually get between 10 and 12 boats, and follow all state regulations – with the exception of a two-man, five-fish limit only (for the sake of the fish). Over the years some have included their sons as a partner and a couple of the former “partners” now have their own boat in the tournament.
We held our 30th annual Bunny Run Bass Bash recently, with 10 boats and 20 good friends gathering at the ramp in the pre dawn hours and fishing until noon.
When the boats were trailered and the fish weighed and released we headed to one of the participants’ homes for an afternoon of venison/bacon wraps, deep fried bluegills, an assortment of other snacks, and an afternoon of fish stories.
(Disclaimer: This is not a professional tournament and none of us have had aspirations to become a tournament angler. Most fish a half-dozen times a year or less. In past years, when we had a 10-fish, two-man limit, no one ever brought 10 fish to the weigh-in. We fish for fun and camaraderie – a chance to spend a day with old friends doing what we all love to do.)
We each pitch in a little cash, which goes towards food, beverages and prizes.
The winners get bragging rights, but no monetary awards. One of our group, Dale Caddick, took it upon himself several years ago to see that we have plaques to hand out to the top three places and the individual who catches the biggest bass of the day, which is dedicated to the memory of one of our friends who passed away much too early, the Larry Kammerer Memorial Big Bass Award. Dale buys the hardware and engraving and taps one of the other participants to make up the wooden bases.
The plaques are wonderful and the prizes are fun – some great, like an Aqua-View Micro, some not so great like a fish towel and a knife sharpener – but the best part of the day is sitting around after the fishing is done and spending time with lifelong friends who still find time to wet a line together.