More than 70 boats were angling for cash last weekend as the eighth annual Gollywhopper Tournament was held at the Mexico Beach Welcome Center.
The cash, however, was for the hosts.
Operating under what we may call “hurricane rules” the fishing tournament raised $12,500 for the city of Mexico Beach, the money presented to the City Council during Tuesday’s regular meeting.
“We had the largest number of boats we’ve had in the history of the tournament,” said Kimberly Shoaf, a member of the volunteer committee that sponsors and hosts the event each year. “And we had no cash payouts except kids and target weight.
“We made the tournament a fundraising effort and focused it on the city canal and the fishing station at the pier.”
The tournament attracted 73 boats, but Shoaf noted there was more than one captain who entered their boat simply to give back to the city, so badly ravaged by Hurricane Michael.
The tournament organizers didn’t even set an entry fee.
“We had the minimum at $100 and the maximum at $10,000 and we said anybody who would pay the $10,000 we would name next year’s tournament after them,” Shoaf said. “We didn’t have any takers on the $10,000, but we had a lot of people who entered, bought t-shirts and food and supported the tournament.
“We just made it one big party.”
That party included a Captain’s Party, where two whole roasted hogs disappeared and the day of fishing Saturday during which a lot of vittles, from hamburgers and hot dogs to chicken and ribs, hit grill and plates.
Anglers battled in several categories, including snapper, King Mackerel and grouper, but the only fishermen walking away with any cash were the juvenile winners and the winner of the target weight category; that weight, of course, was 10 pounds, 10 ounces to symbolize Michael’s arrival date and month.
Of the three boats that earned a target-weight payout, one, The Ride, returned their share of $1,232.
Kids King Mackerel: 1. Turner Thornton, 36.68 pounds, 2. Beau Krause, 18.92;
Kids Snapper: 1. Daniel Sapp, 25.11, 2. Hughes Williams, 20.22;
Kids Grouper: 1. Nate Carpenter, 2. Beau Krause, 10.28;
Red Snapper: 1. Naughty Heifer, 2. Renegade, 3. Swivel Sisters;
Grouper: 1. The Ride, 2. China Town, 3. KC Sport Fishing;
King Mackerel: 1. Royal Flush, 2. Salty Mule, 3. Reel Cane;
Target weight (10.10): Fish Commander, 10.07; The Sportsman, 9.86; The Ride, 9.76.