By Bob Groene, The Dispatch and Rock Island Argus
(September 24, 2011) The 37th annual Children’s Therapy Center Charity Bass Tournament was a huge success, drawing 93 boats and 186 anglers to the area’s largest fishing tournament held last Saturday on the Mississippi River out of Albany.
Todd Giesking of Cedar Rapids and Dan Sellers of Iowa City, both active members of the QC-based Twin Rivers Bass Club, won the sterling event and its $3,000 first-place purse with a five-bass tournament limit weighing 15.53 pounds.
“We fished along rocks in pool 13 using crank baits,” Giesking said, “and caught about 50 bass, culling 10 keepers and about 30 shorts (under 14 inches).”
“We don’t fish this area very often and only got to pre-fish for this tournament one day, and that was eight days ago,” Sellers added. “Our boat isn’t very fast and, when we got to our spot, we were surprised that no one beat us there. Apparently no one found the same fish that we did.”
Adam Bowman and Darwin Kloft, both of Maquoketa, took second and its $1,000 prize with a limit of 15.02. That was anchored by the event’s big bass — a 4.30-pounder — earning the duo another $100 and a new Minn Kota trolling motor. They reported fishing in pool 13 using crank baits and plastics around wood.
Anxiously awaiting this tournament were Roger Koopman of Andalusia and JJ Patton of Eldridge.
“I found a nice school of bass in pool 13 about a month ago and have been keeping track of them ever since, kinda salivating and waiting for today,” Koopman said with a wide grin. “We caught a lot of fish today, but not quite the right ones to win. We culled several limits.”
“We used crank baits, chatter baits and flipped plastics,” Patton said. “There must have been at least one other tournament going on because there seemed to be a steady stream of other bass fishermen coming and going fairly near where we were. We caught a limit early and just kept looking for bigger fish.”
Tournament organizing committee members Scott Ford and Randy Beard, both of Geneseo, who usually fish buddy tournaments together, added a nice twist to their day and the tournament by not fishing together, but fishing with their sons — an elementary-schooler and a high-schooler. Could this add a fun challenge to father and school-age son or daughter partners for future events?
For the record, Mississippi River bass fishing was pretty darn good last Saturday with nearly half of the field (45 boats) bringing in five-bass tournament limits. And, all of the fish weighed in were released alive back in to the river.
The club challenge — various bass club members catching the heaviest aggregate total weight of fish — was won by the Harvester Bass Club. That $250 prize was immediately donated back to the Children’s Therapy Center.
The reel winners of this long-standing event will be the youngsters who will receive much needed professional speech, physical and occupational therapy services due to the $11,000 plus raised last Saturday which equates to well over 300 units of therapy service. That lifts the 37 year event total to over $460,000.
Event chair Scott Ford of Geneseo summed things up nicely, “The anglers, volunteers and sponsors all did a super job. When you can provide over 300 units of therapy service to kids who need it just by going bass fishing, it’s a pretty good day.”