Firecracker fishing still aiming high
Gary Lindsey would probably be a bit amazed and grinning that I caught the big one smile if he could have seen the 165 boats fishing in the tournament named after the avid local fisherman, who lost his life in 2009, while scouting sites for a fishing tournament.
“He’d be proud of it, with out a doubt,” tournament organizer and friend of Lindsey’s, Doug Pressley told The Daily Times.
The Fourth Gary Lindsey Memorial Benefit Firecracker Fishing Tournament brought in $12,000 that was donated to the American Red Cross chapters in Blount, Loudon and Monroe counties.
With 165 boats out on the water, the tournament matched last year’s participation even with the weekend’s triple-digit temperatures. Pressley was working for more but the heat and way Independence Day fell midweek on the calendar complicated the effort and the last-minute push for entries.
“I wanted 200 boats this year but it was hard to get that with the heat. It was 103 degrees and it can be hard to get anybody to go out and fish for six hours like that in the heat,” Pressley said. “It takes about a year to put it together. We printed off 5,000 flyers this year. It’s a lot of just stick with it and letting people know about it and reminding them that the tournament is going to be back.”
Nearly half the boats weighed in their catch for the tourney.
“A lot of times if they don’t weigh their fish unless they think they have enough to be in the running for the prize,” Pressley said. “I guarantee every one of those guys was out there fishing to win this tournament, they had one goal in mind — to win that $2,000 prize.”
The team of Joel and Tim Wheelon took the Firecracker with 19.51 pounds as eight teams returned to the weigh-in with hauls topping the 15-pound point on the scales. Troy Dyer and Doug Younce were in second with 18.57 pounds that edged Jeremy and Donnie Davis and their 18.25 pounds.
The Small Mouth Lunker went to the team of Andy Tipton and Bryant Scates and a 5.31 pound prize. Allen Tadlock and Jason Martin reeled in a 6.91 Large Mouth for the Lunker prize while Gary and Corey Cardwell landed a 26.35 pound whiskered wonder for the Largest Catfish prize.
Pressley already has his sights, or hooks set, for next year and the Fifth Firecracker and the 200 boat mark.
“The fifth one will be the same time. We try to have it the weekend before or the weekend after the Fourth,” Pressley said. “I was close friends with Gary and I want to do this for him. Now, it’s pretty much me and his family getting it together each year.”
Lindsey’s parents, Ed and Janet, won the American Red Cross Adult Good Samaritan Award, sponsored by First Tennessee Bank, earlier this year for their work on the tourney held in memory of their son and his passion for fishing.
Last year, 165 boats and 324 fishermen participated in the tournament, raising more than $9,000 and donating it to the Red Cross Blount and Monroe County chapters. In 2010 $4,000 in proceeds were donated to the Vonore Volunteer Fire Department. When Lindsey went missing in April 2009 hundreds of emergency personnel searched for three days to locate him. The search and rescue task force comprised over 100 law enforcement, medical, and rescue professionals from about 30 agencies. That group included divers with the Blount Special Operations Response Team (BSORT). The proceeds have been used to benefit those agencies and the Red Cross.