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High hopes for Fat Hogs
August 16, 2010 - Steve Schulwitz
The Rogers City Salmon Tournament used to be one of the most popular fishing events not only in Lake Huron or the state of Michigan, but the entire nation.Trucks and trailers used to fill the parking lot at the harbor to capacity and the line of boat trailors would also consume both sides of the local roads for many city blocks.
Over the years however, the now defunct tournament lost its luster for several reasons. A steady decline in quality fishing on the east side played a role, but the biggest factor was reports that surfaced that several tournament winners weren't paid their winnings. It was assumed that money was being mishandled by organizers and the respectability of those in charge was brought to question. As a result the fisherman began to shy away and soon after the event was discontinued.
Now a new tournament has rekindled the fishing communityás interest and hopes are it can gain enough momentum to remove the dark cloud that was left from the previous tournament in the small town.
Three years ago a group of organizers decided to try to breath some life back into competitive fishing in Rogers City. They didn't want to be associated with the former salmon tournament, but still wanted the event to be relevant enough to lure the previous participants back to town.
They envisioned an event that showcases the fisherman and their catches, not the squabbling and negotiating of funds within local government. Thus the Fat Hogs Fishing Frenzy was born.As participants in the former salmon tournament, the group of men were disgusted by the way things were being operated and after the event was put to rest, they decided to begin a tournament that eliminated much of the politics and finger pointing that led to the older tournament's demise and start over from scratch.
They vowed to be be straight with the fishermen and to keep an open line of communication. They proudly open their bank books to show what the tournament's expenses are and how the registration money is being distributed. They also cut a check to the winners while they are still at the scale, a welcome change from the former tournament.As a result of having the fishermen play a larger role in how the event is run, the amount of boats has increased each year since its inception.
If early indicators hold true, this year should see more fishermen and larger payouts once again.The "Frenzy" is sponsored by Budweiser, and pays cash prizes for the highest combined weight total for the two-day event, largest fish, and a mystery weight bonus. Mackinaw Outfitters, the Kewadin Casino and other local businesses have also pledged prizes and their support for making the event a success.
The fishing is held on the Saturday and Sunday of Labor Day Weekend and the catches each year have been good. By hosting the event closer to fall, while fishing is at its peak due to the salmon's migration into the shallow water that make them ripe for the picking and good catches recorded. Registration for the two-days event is $150 per boat registration forms are available throughout Northeast Michigan, and information can be found on Facebook. For more information or questions feel free to contact Chris Flewelling at 733-0999.
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