By Penny LeLeux
For the Record 

Registration open for OCARC fishing tournament


Last updated 7/20/2021 at 8:42pm

It’s almost time for the 33rd OCARC fishing tournament. Registration is underway now. The tournament will kick off at Aug. 6 at 5 p.m., with weigh-in scheduled for 5 p.m. the following day. Certification for eligible winning fish will start at 3:00 p.m.

This is the only fundraiser for the organization to fund needs for their special needs clients. Last year’s tournament was cancelled due to COVID-19, so a great turnout is critical for this year.

“It’s one of the largest tournaments held here in Orange County,” said Sandy McCormack, spokesman for OCARC. “We’ve been doing this for 33 years now.”

“We’re big into getting children into fishing, so it is encouraged for families-husbands, wives, children, grandmothers, grandfathers, grandkids. We’re really, really into the children part of it. We do special giveaways for our children. The last few years we’ve been able to give away a fully loaded kayak.”

She said their hope is to help produce future ‘fisherpersons’.

There are 12 categories of fish, 10 of the categories pay 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, but the “Don Hubbard” mudcat just pays 1st place of $50 and the “Gopher” Appaloosa Red pays $250 for the redfish with the most spots.

“It doesn’t have to be the biggest, as long as it has the most spots,” said McCormack. “It’s definitely different. We have some real enthusiasm over that one.”

Categories include both salt water and freshwater fish.

Other 1st place categories and sponsors are:

Largest bass-$750 Dominion, Inc.

Largest speck-$750 Dow

Largest flounder-$300

Largest redfish-$300

“Sarge’s catfish, white perch, sunfish, croaker, black drum and the “Janae Borel” grinnel-$100 each.

About the two special named categories:

“Allen Sargent was one of our biggest fishermen as far as catfish goes… He evidently brought in very large sized catfish,” said McCormack. “When he passed away very suddenly, very unexpectantly, we nicknamed our catfish after him. We did a special T-shirt the year he died.”

“Janae Borel started fishing our tournament when she was a little bitty girl. I wouldn’t be afraid to say she was still in diapers and her daddy took her with him when he fished,” said McCormack. “Grinnel is what she liked to catch and unfortunately she was killed in a very unfortunate accident on the river and we just couldn’t help but name it the ‘Janae Borel’ grinnel, because that is what she loved to fish for.”

“Then we have the Stan Armstrong redfish,” said McCormack. Stan Armstrong was a member of the S.A.L.T. team that certifies the fish brought in by the fishermen, “to make sure they haven’t been tampered with, make sure they’re edible…they haven’t been made to weigh more than they should...” McCormack said they honored Armstrong after he died suddenly from a stroke.

Total payout in all categories is $4,000. An angler can only win one check per category but can win more than one category.

Entry fee is $30. Children under the age of 16 fish for free but must fill out a registration form and must be accompanied by a parent or adult entered in the tournament.

The weigh-in will take place at the new Riverside Pavilion located adjacent to the Orange public boat ramp.

For more information or entry forms, visit OCARC at 8th and Park Streets in Orange or give them a call at 409-886-1363.

The money goes towards training, art and craft supplies, party supplies and other things needed for the clients throughout the year.

“We do all kinds of neat, fun, things for them. We have watermelon parties, Christmas parties, Halloween parties, Easter parties, if it’s a holiday, we have a party,” said McCormack.

The money from this tournament is also what keeps the doors open for this vital organization that gives purpose and education to those that might not otherwise have access to similar facilities.


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