MS Walleye Fishing Tournament plannedWritten by Lew Horn | | firstname.lastname@example.org
What could be better than heading out on an early morning walleye charter from Port Clinton, the Walleye Capital of the World?
How about knowing that the $200 you spent will be used to help Ohioans afflicted with multiple sclerosis?
On June 9, approximately twenty boats and 200 anglers will gather at the Midway Marina in Port Clinton for the 21st annual MS Walleye Fishing Tournament. Charter captains from the Lake Erie Charter Boat Association volunteer their boats and their expertise to help make the tournament a success.
“Each year the tournament raises between 30 and 35 thousand dollars that all goes to help the 20,000 Ohio residents living with MS,” said Tony Bernard, who is in charge of promoting the event for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Ohio Buckeye Chapter.
A group of six anglers can charter a boat and captain for a fee of $1,200, or individuals may purchase a seat on a boat for $250. They are treated to a 7:00 am breakfast, a day of fishing with an experienced licensed charter captain, and an awards dinner at the end of the day. All boats are furnished with soft drinks and bag lunches. While the anglers enjoy the awards banquet, the captains clean and bag their catch.
And do they catch fish. “Last year we brought in over 1,400 hundred pounds of walleye,” said Bernard.
Trophies are awarded for the biggest fish of the tournament and for the boat that has the largest combined weight for six fish, but the real reward for anglers is knowing they helped out fellow Ohioans suffering from MS. Proceeds from the tournament go to funding research to prevent multiple sclerosis, which affects over 400,000 people nationally. Funds are also dedicated to help those suffering from MS by providing transportation and durable medical equipment loans. All funds from this tournament are directed toward Ohio organizations like the Cleveland Clinic and The Ohio State University Medical Center, both of which conduct research to find a cause and cure for the disease.
According to Bernard, the tournament idea was hatched 21 years ago by a group of anglers from Dayton who were employees of First Merit Bank. “That first year we had about 10 boats,” said Bernard, “but it’s grown steadily since then, and many of those original volunteers are still with us.”
The charter captains aren’t the only volunteers involved. “We have a staff of 25-30 people who run the show,” said Bernard. “They coordinate the fishermen and boats and make sure the drinks, ice and lunches are on board. When the boats come in, some volunteers help take care of the fish. Others make sure breakfast and dinner go smoothly. They really do an outstanding job.”
The organization also gets some corporate help. Presenting sponsor is Shamrock Companies, Inc. Rockne’s restaurant chain provides lunch and dinner for the fishermen. Kroger, Giant Eagle and McDonalds all donate to the breakfast menu. Jerry’s Auto Plaza in Port Clinton provides golf carts so volunteers can bring fish and gear from the docks to the shelter house where the weigh-in takes place.
And it’s not too late to get involved. Anglers wishing to rent a boat for six, or individuals who want to get involved, can contact Tony Bernard at (614) 515-4608 or visit the website at www.MSohiobuckeye.org.
June is prime fishing time on Lake Erie and there is no better meal than fresh-caught walleye fillets. And this is one time that even in the unlikely event that an angler might get skunked, he or she is still going to feel pretty good at the end of the day.