It was raining, slick and muddy along the banks of the Guyandotte River Saturday morning but that didn’t deter more than 200 people from registering in the 10th Annual Tony Gill Memorial Fishing Tournament.
Entry into the tournament was free and a valid West Virginia fishing license was needed for those over the free fishing age limit.
Cash prizes and trophies were given for the longest Bass, Carp and Catfish. Winners and their categories were: Vernon Williamson won $200 for his Bass measuring 18.5 inches; Justin Allen won $200 for his Catfish measuring 27 and 7/8ths inches and Alfred White won $150 for his Carp measuring 27 and 3/4ths inches.
Second place winners received $50 cash prize and a trophy. Second place winners and their category were John McCoy with a Bass measuring 17 and 5/8ths inches; John Nagy with a 27.5 inch Catfish and Hayden Adams with a 27 inch Carp.
Earning the Tony Gill Spirit Award was Logan Adkins. Adkins was awarded a trophy and $30 cash. The Smallest Fisherman was Landon Hall. He received $25 cash and a Cabela’s gift certificate.
White, of Lake, said he hooked his prize winning Carp near Logan Regional Medical Center. The bait he used to lure the fish to the hook?
“Plain ole light bread,” White said.
White said the fishing conditions began good, but quickly deteriorated in the rain.
“The river was clear to begin with, but in an hour to hour and a half it got muddy quick,” White said. “It was hard fishing.”
White, a two time participant in the tournament, said he was glad to see the tournament so popular among residents.
“There are a lot of kids coming out,” White said. “That’s good.”
First time tournament participant Vernon Williamson of Cora said he landed his prize winning Bass near Sears at Aracoma with chicken livers as bait and fishing on the river bottom.
“I really like fishing in the rain,” Williamson said. “It was a fun day.”
Nagy, who took second place for his Catfish, said he was fishing somewhere in West Logan using minnows as bait.
“It’s a secret spot,” Nagy said. “Fish quit biting around 10 o’clock and we caught tow. But after it got real muddy they just quit biting.”
Nagy, of Stollings, said the tournament was a good way to get out and enjoy everyone and to remember Gill.
The biggest Catfish was landed near the DMV offices in Logan according to first time tourney participant Allen. Allen said he was using dough balls as bait but wouldn’t reveal his dough ball recipe.
“It was real bad,” Allen, of City View, said of fishing in the rain, “But it was fun at the same time.”
Leonard Codispoti, tournament organizer and uncle to Gill, said the tournament went really well, with 227 registering to fish.
“There were people all up and down the Guyandotte this morning,” Codispoti said.
Codipoti said he wanted to thank all those businesses and individuals assisting in the tournament, especially McDonald’s for allowing the use of their parking lot as headquarters for the tournament Saturday. Codispoti also thanked WVOW Radio and The Logan Banner for advertising the event.
In addition to first and second prize winners, registered participants also had a chance of winning a prize in a raffle drawing. Children received a $5 gift certificate to McDonalds.