Break out the fishing poles on April 13 for a friendly competition at Chuck’s Marina to benefit Ferst Readers of Tallapoosa County. The event will raise money for the nonprofit as its inaugural Fish for Ferst Charity Bass Tournament.
All participating boats will launch from the marina at 5:30 a.m., and weigh-in will begin at 2 p.m.
“You don’t have to be experienced to join. We’re hoping for grandparents and grandchildren to come out together; it’s supposed to be a fun time and support a good cause,” said Elaine Toney, a founding member of Ferst Readers of Tallapoosa County.
Local high school fishing teams also have been invited to increase youth participation.
To enter the competition, teams of up to two anglers are eligible to register for the $100 entry fee, and entry fees are tax-deductible. An additional optional $10 enters anglers into the largest bass buy-in. The largest bass winner will receive 90 percent of the total buy-in for the competition and a two-night stay at Paradise Bed and Breakfast on Lake Martin, which is a $300 value, Toney said.
Prizes will be awarded based on total weight of a five-fish limit. First place will win $600, plus a two-night stay at Paradise Bed and Breakfast on Lake Martin. The second place winners will receive $400; third place gets $250, and fourth place will be awarded $150.
Jane Garrett-Harris, owner of Chuck’s Marina, has been essential in planning and preparation for the tournament, Toney said, since many Ferst Readers members had never before organized a fishing tournament.
“Jane always works her magic. She’s behind us all the way and is helping us out a lot with advertising and planning the festivities,” said Toney. “We’re all enjoying learning about what this entails as we gain knowledge on how to improve next year’s tournament.”
Some rules and regulations are required during the competition, and no professional anglers may participate. Only artificial bait is allowed, and any dead bass presented at weigh-in will subject the entrant to a 1/4-pound penalty. Boat liability insurance also is required for all vessels that enter the tournament.
“The lake is a great asset. Why not take advantage of that here for our fundraiser?” Toney said.
Ferst Readers is a countywide nonprofit organization that serves children between the ages of 0 and 5. Ferst Readers makes it possible for each child to receive a free age-appropriate book once a month to encourage early reading skills.
So far, Ferst Readers has reached its initial goal of registering more than 400 children for the program. To remain free for children, the organization must raise $36 per child to cover costs.
All proceeds from the inaugural fishing tournament will benefit this cause.
“All our volunteers are really so gung-ho about this project. We’re really passionate about the opportunity to teach kids how to read,” Toney added.
All tournament entries must be received by April 6 to be considered. For registration information, email ferstreadersTCA@gmail.com or check out the Ferst Readers of Tallapoosa County Facebook page. Registration forms and checks can be mailed to P.O. Box 676, Dadeville AL 36853.