Sixty-seven teams competed in the second annual Bay Bash Family Fishing Tournament on August 12. The tournament was followed by a concert, benefiting the White Stone Volunteer Fire Department at Ingram Bay Marina.
There were 202 fish identified, processed and recorded with up-to-the-minute results posted on the Live Leaderboard throughout the day, reported tournament organizer Capt. Billy Pipkin.
“The Bay Bash is truly an all-inclusive, one-of-a-kind event that brings folks from all different backgrounds and abilities together for fun, good spirited competition and winnings,” said Pipkin.
Anglers young and old, men and women, and those with special needs, all competed in boats, kayaks, canoes, piers and shorelines for 34 prizes in 14 different categories.
“The competition in this second year was outstanding,” said Pipkin. “All of the winners from last year were dethroned by newcomers who have been practicing up all year for this event.”
Special needs and guest anglers
There were several competitors with intellectual learning disabilities competing in the overall tournament as well as in their own division.
In addition to individual competitors, two chartered boats, sponsored by Special Angler Foundation, Main Street Pharmacy and Dunn-Rite Auto Group, carried special anglers and kids from the community that don’t have the opportunity to fish, much less in a big tournament setting like this, said Pipkin.
Darious Green, representing the YMCA youth group and special angler Brandi Lovett, won the overall Spanish mackerel division with first and second places, respectively.
Some 27 youth anglers put points on the board. In a very competitive group, Dylan Holloway aboard Big Papa’s Dream caught nine species of fish to edge out Bryce Fand of team Killer B’s who had eight.
An interesting note is that Holloway appears to have set the Virginia State youth record by catching and releasing six different species in 2 hours and 17 minutes, said Pipkin. The catch, when verified, will have broken the current record held by youth Andrew Acosta at 2 hours and 26 minutes.
This year’s Bay Bash again showcased top lady anglers in a head-to-head competition for the most species caught, in front of a local and national viewing audience via internet, said Pipkin.
Gail Bondurant aboard The Twins, Carol Carr aboard Flossifur and Emily Simpson aboard Southern Style had a nail-biting competition until noon when Jessica Vanecek of Reedville catapulted into the competition with four quick species and then the battle ensued between Bondurant and Vanecek.
At the final horn both ladies tied at eight species apiece. Vanecek was declared the winner because she reached the eighth species first. Both ladies went home with $200 and Vanecek was crowned Queen of the Bay with the legendary Lady Mary Boleyn Tiara.
In the grand prize division sponsored by Seigler Reels, Shawn Valentine of team Wiggundersontine placed first with an aggregate length of 69.12 inches. Frank Vanecek aboard Therapy landed in second with 59.5 inches.
Among the different angler groups competing, there was a distinct spike in kayak entries.
Some of the excitement surrounding the kayaks was surely a result of the first ever tarpon landed by hook and line from a kayak in Virginia waters.
Joe An landed the 62-inch specimen 10 days prior to the Bay Bash event while fishing out of Ingram Bay Marina. In Bay Bash competition, he won both the red drum and speckled trout divisions.
“Based on the growing popularity and excitement of this tournament, we expect another record participation at the August 11, 2018 event,” said Pipkin. “Bay Bash 2018 will be limited to the first 100 entries, so save the date.”
Winners by division
Grand prize, first, Shawn Valentine, 69.12” aggregate; second, Frank Vanecek 59.5”.
Ladies, first, (tie) Jessica Vanecek and Gail Bondurant, 8 species each; third, Carol Carr, 7; fourth, Emily Simpson, 7; fifth, Zoie Seay, 5.
Youth, first, Dylan Holloway, 9 species; second, Bryce Fand, 8; third, Trason Morauske, 7; fourth, Max Bowen, 5; fifth, Katelyn Ruiz, 5.
Special anglers, first, Ethan Wheatley, 4 species; second, Alex Mendoza, 4; third, Brandi Lovett, 3; fourth, Joe Gittinger, 3; and fifth, Andy Martinez, 3.
Spot, first, Coleman Smith, 9.88” aggregate; second, Tommy Watson, 9.62”; third, Shawn Valentine, 9.62”.
Croaker, first, Dale Jones, 12.5”; second, David Price, 12.38”; third, Billy Shifflett, 11.25”.
Bluefish first, Brian Grulkowski, 19.5”; second, Buck Acors, 18.62”; third, Tommy Watson, 17.25”.
Spanish mackerel, first, Darious Green, 24.75 “; second, Brandi Lovett, 21.5”; third, Collin Longest, 20.0”.
Flounder, first, Frank Vanece, 18.0”.
Drum, first, Joe An, 21.5”.
Perch, first, Max Bowen, 11.12”; second, Billy Shifflett, 8.75”; third, David Price, 7.5”.
Speckled trout, first, Joe An, 21.25”.