OCARC Fishing Tournament First Weekend in August
Last updated 7/22/2022 at 1:07pm
The annual OCARC Fishing Tournament will held the first weekend in August. The fishing tournament is the opportunity to win cash prizes for 32 fishermen while also helping the clients of OCARC.
This will be the 34th time OCARC has sponsored the always fun event. Weigh-ins will be done Friday, August 5, and Saturday, August 6, at the Riverside Pavilion in Orange.
Director John Thomas with OCARC is excited for another OCARC Fishing Tournament. Thomas said OCARC originally started with producing fishing tackle specializing in spinner baits which led to the fishing tournament. The spinner baits are no longer produced, but the popular fishing tournament is held every year.
There are usually 250 participants each year with the biggest participation being 390 fishermen a few years ago according to Thomas. Local fishing appears to be good right now on the Sabine River and Sabine Lake which has Thomas hopeful for a good turnout of fishermen in the tournament.
The OCARC Fishing Tournament is very popular with fishermen of all ages and genders with some families supplying three generations of fishermen. "We have a lot of children fish in our tournament. That's one of the big draws we have, and they actually win money. We try to give each one of them a trophy, and we're trying to get enough rods and reels to give each one of them a rod and reel," Thomas said.
Cash prizes and trophies are awarded in 12 fish categories with second and third place awards in ten of those categories. Twenty-eight sponsors and over thirty co-sponsors help with the $4,000 in prize money.
The four big prizes are awarded for bass, speckled trout, redfish, and flounder. Those fish must be brought alive to the weigh-in on Friday or Saturday to be eligible for the prize money.
The "Tom Windham" Bass category is sponsored by Dominion with a first prize of $750, $100 for second place, and $50 to third place. The Big Speckled Trout category is sponsored by DOW and carries a $750 first prize, $100 for second place, and $50 for third. The "Stan Armstrong" Redfish is sponsored by International Paper with $750 for first place, $100 for second place, and $50 for third place. The Redfish must measure between 20 to 27 inches to be eligible. The Flounder category has $300 for first, $100 for second, and $50 for third.
Other fish categories are "Sarge's" Catfish, White Perch, Sunfish or Perch, Croaker, Black Drum (must be 14 to 29 inches), and "Jane Borel" Grinnel. First place is $100, second place is $50, and third place is $25 in each of those categories.
Two special categories are the "Don Hubbard" Mudcat and the "Gopher" Appaloosa Red which offer a first prize only. The top "Don Hubbard" Mudcat wins $50 for the fisherman that catches it. The "Gopher" Appaloosa Red prize is $250 and goes for the Red Fish with the most spots on it. The record is 31 spots on the fish caught.
OCARC began in 1956 with the Day Hab workshop starting in 1960. The original location was in the Thomen Center the former hospital on Park Avenue at Twentieth Street before moving to the current location on Park Avenue at Eighth Street in Orange.
Thomas has been with OCARC for 48 years and says the fishing tournament is a once a year event that let's everyone know they are still working to help their clients have a better life. "Our tournament is not a serious tournament. We want you to get out on the water, having a good time catching some fish, come to the weigh-in and meet everybody," Thomas reminded.
Registration for the OCARC Fishing can be done online at ocarc.com or in person at the OCARC offices at 905 W. Park Avenue. The entry fee is $30. The office is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 AM to 2:00 PM.