With the Coosa River running at or above flood stage to say the Coosa River Whitewater Kayak Fishing Tournament was extreme would be putting it mildly. Rains in north Alabama and George prior to the tournament forced the release of water out of Jordan Damn to 51,000 cubic feet per second. Organizers were hoping for a flow of 8,500 cfs. The call was made early Sunday morning, day of the event, to proceed with the competition. Eight competitors took to the water that day making them extreme anglers in anyone’s book.
As the day wore on reports from the anglers began coming in to tournament headquarters. The youngest competitor, Christian Shirey, age 16, was the first off the water. Christian, after several hours contending with the high waters, was unable to land a fish. Considering conditions, he represented himself well having just taken to the water. Corey Galloway was the next angler to report at the check-in. Having not been able to catch a fish in the first half of the day Corey returned to water undaunted. Next a report that Mark Syck had three fish came in renewing the resolve of some of the competitors that were debating whether to call it a day or continue.
The check-in officially opened at 1:00 pm. The first angler, Joseph Harris, to turn in his catch was doubtful if it would be worth while since he had only one fish. Considering the challenges all the contestants were facing any fish caught that day was a trophy. As time wore on and the anglers began check-in it became very clear that indeed even a single catch would place well in the tournament. With time all most expired Mark Syck walked to the table having caught three Spotted Bass. His fish measured a total aggregate of 44.25 inches. For this particular day a phenomenal catch, the biggest being 18.5″. As time ran out no other competitor weighed in.
Barrs Appraisal Service, the premier sponsor of the event, put up $500 in prize money. With only two anglers turning in fish the decision was made by event organizers to combine the $100 third place money to 1st place, 2nd place and Big Bass category.
Accent Performance Paddles donated a Cannon Angler Paddle that was awarded to Mark Syck along with $300 for taking 1st place overall in the tournament.
Ego Adventure products donated a Slider 2 fishing net that was awarded to Joseph Harris along with $175 for taking 2nd place.
Native Watercraft donated a Cooler/Gear Bag that was awarded to Mark Syck along with $25 for Big Bass.
Also, D.O.A. Lures and Bass Assassin Lures donated products that were raffled off between all the tournament participants.
Congratulations to all the competitors! It was a hard fought day and they all should be proud of their efforts!