Especially for a beginning effort, the first ever Saratoga Open Fishing tournament at Lake Barkley September 24 drew a large group of fishermen, with even the pre-registration surpassing goals. The sponsoring lakes-area Saratoga UMC (Madisonville District) congregation, reaching out to connect in Christian fellowship with both residents and tourists through the event, appreciates the participation, according to pastor Steve McVay.
Results of the featured contests are as follows:
First place winner on the basis of total weight was the team of Jeff McLarne and Jay Backer. They had five fish with a weight of 12.41 pounds. Paul Freeman, fishing by himself, was second place winner on the basis of weight, with five fish weighing a total of 11.49 pounds. In the biggest bass competition, the team of Jeff McLarne and Jay Backer again received first place. The bass weighed 4.37 pounds. Second place in the biggest bass category was won by the Ditto brothers, Chuck and Tim, with a bass weighing 2.89 pounds.
The event was hosted by Saratoga United Methodist Church in Lyon County and took place at the Kuttawa/Lyon County ramp on Lake Barkley near Old Kuttawa.
Willie Edmonds, a member of Saratoga UMC, served as tourney director. Edmonds, who is regional director of USA BASSIN, a national tournament trail, agreed to volunteer his experience for his church’s weekend effort.
Edmonds reports that early Saturday the event had to be delayed for fifteen minutes for "safe light" (due to fog). He relates that a chilly, overcast morning gave way to scattered showers. Then, by mid-morning, the sun peeked out, the skies cleared, and the wind picked up, he says.
By weigh-in time, director Edmonds observes, "We had a beautiful, clear, and sunny day."
Weigh-in was followed by the awarding of prizes provided by sponsors. Prizes consisted of rods, reels, bait, gift certificates, and other goods and services.
The thing he appreciated most was, Edmonds concludes, "At the end of the weigh-in, three anglers came to me and said how much they enjoyed the tournament and they hoped the church would be able to do it again next year."