When a storm swept through the Henry County area last Saturday at 5 p.m., two hours before the scheduled start of the Henry County Rod and Gun Club fishing tournament, it shrunk the turnout to just 37 less than half of the number of fishermen and women that fill the lakes bank at a typical tournament.
But in the end, after 12 hours of non-stop fishing, the predicted bad weather had stayed away in a turn of events that left those along the bank pleased. And the severe thunderstorm watch that lasted until 2 a.m. never flourished.
Through all my years at these tournaments, it was about the best weather we had for fishing, said Ken Case, the president of the Rod and Gun Club. It turned out to be very beautiful. I think later on people probably regretted not coming out.
Those participating in the 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. tournament were allowed an unlimited number of catches, which were weighed each time they reeled in a fish. The person with the most total weight at the end of the 12 hours was the winner of the tourney.
We were happy with the way it went considering the (predicted) weather, said Ronnie Kidwell, the vice president of the Rod and Gun Club and owner of Westend Sports in Eminence. It was a lot of fun. Everyone had a good time, I believe. I just got tired towards the end.
After the last fish was caught and weighed, Chris Cole was declared the winner with 18.1 pounds. He also finished first in the Big Fish competition with a 7-pound, 10-ounce fish, which gave him a winning purse of $270 $150 for winning the overall competition and $120 for bringing in the catch of the night.
Paul Peanut Brewer finished second and collected $100 with 18.1 total pounds, while Ray Whitaker finished third and collected $50 with 13.3 pounds.
Brewer caught the most fish during the night with 12 total, but Cole edged him by just four ounces in a close to competition to claim the top prize.
The Rod and Gun Club, located off Sunnyside Road, was established in 1954. Today, a family membership is just $50 per year, which gives members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week access to the eight-acre lake for fishing and/or hunting. The Rod and Gun Club also allows local organizations, such as the Boy Scouts, to use the site regularly.
With gas prices soaring through the roof, Henry Countians might find the lake a cheap and easy getaway to enjoy themselves outdoors.
Its hard to believe, but a lot of people in Henry County dont know about this club, Case said. I always say its the best kept secret in Henry County.
Thanks to the effort of Case, Kidwell and secretary/treasurer Sonny Briley, the membership was pushed to 150 this year, an increase from recent years.
We really pushed the membership, Case said. But were still looking for bigger and better things in the future.
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