Jeremiah Haas, Dispatch-Argus
The 43rd annual Children’s Therapy Center Bass Tournament, launching out of the Albany Municipal Ramp, continues to be a premier event in the Quad-Cities area, and throughout the Midwest.
Jim Crowley, of Hook & Hunt TV, emceed the event for the third year in a row. This fishing tournament has more of a family feel than a hardcore, big-money bass tournament. Prizes were given to the top husband/wife team, top parent/child team, and even a drawing for top-five place-winnings for teams that did not bring a limit to the scales. Nearly every child under 10 years old left the event with a new fishing pole or some other new fishing gear.
The bass population in the Mississippi River continued to shine with a tournament record 19.52-pound bag of fish (five) winning the event. That is not bad considering this tournament is 43 years old. The 90-plus boats in the tournament brought nearly 700 pounds of bass to the scales.
Brothers Cole and Tanner Atkinson, of Camanche, Iowa, added their names to the short list of multiple-event winners. The brothers also won the event in 2014.
“Everything just went right”, said Cole shortly after weighing in the impressive catch. “We caught four keepers in Pool 13 on Spro Frogs, and our big fish in Pool 14 on a Fat Papa crankbait.” The brothers have spent a lot of time in the boat together as part of the St. Ambrose college fishing team that competed throughout the Midwest.
Second place went to Tom Boyton, DeWitt, and Jacob Crigger, Clinton, with a 17.34-pound bag. They were also in Pool 13, throwing plastic frogs.
The husband/wife team of Gary and Mary Jones took third with another great bag of 17.18 pounds. They won the husband/wife award as well.
One thing that clearly stood out was the amount of high-school anglers participating in the event. Many of them fished for their schools earlier in the year at Spring Lake, Pool 13. The observation highlights the next generation of anglers coming up, which will keep this particular tournament alive and well for another 43 years.
Overall, the tournament raised over $16,000. This is a significant help to the Children’s Therapy Center, according to Cara Marske, fundraising coordinator for the CTC. “We have to raise about 70 percent of annual needs through events like this,” she said. “Most of our patients don’t have insurance, but we strive not to turn children away.”
Fortunately, the CTC has a very dedicated group of sponsors and individual donors that ensure children with special needs receive the treatment they require as they advance through life. Having toured their facility and meeting much of their staff, I can attest to the mission they have. It is great to know that a group of fishermen spending a day competing can help further that cause.