Anglers Coming Together to Help Another
By: Evan Boutwell
I get to see a lot of things within the fishing industry as the weeks pass by. This past weekend I saw just how strong our “brotherhood” of fisherman really is. I was amazed at the outpouring of support from fisherman and fishing industry companies at the “Fishing for Jason” event at Kentucky Lake in Paris, TN. The event was spearheaded by one of Jason Sain’s best friends, David Gnewikow. For those of you that don’t know Jason Sain, he is an amazing individual and an excellent fisherman. Jason is currently battling cancer and David put together the event to help raise funds to help Jason’s family with their growing medical bills. Some of you that attended the 2013 Triton Owner’s Tournament may remember Jason and David winning that event.
David contacted us at ABA a few weeks ago to ask if we could arrange to have one of ABA’s tournament stages and some other equipment brought up to Paris Landing for the event. After a brief meeting at ABA, we immediately pledged to help David with anything we could to help make the event a success. At that point, I began scrambling up equipment, as we had five Weekend Bass Series events that same weekend. Before it was over with, I ended up blasting off boats and weighing in fish with Fish Fishburne, whom donated his time to help, as well. However, this article is not about ABA or myself. It is what I saw take place at this event that I want to share.
What I saw at this event was absolutely amazing. I watched early Saturday morning as boats lined up to enter Paris Landing. The line grew all the way out to Hwy 79 into the turn lane past the park overpass, for those of you familiar with Paris Landing. Registration ran right up until blast off. As we headed out, I got word that there were 163 boats. Now this was not 163 boats that came to compete for cash and prizes. This 163 teams of fishermen that showed up to help their brother in fishing, Jason Sain. To prove my point, I saw almost all of the teams that finished in the money give their checks back! That’s correct. I saw most all of these teams that paid an entry fee, burned many gallons of gas, paid for lodging, and even practiced the day before, give their checks back to the tournament to help Jason. Once again, this massive group of anglers didn’t show up to compete in a tournament, they showed up to help a friend and fellow fisherman.
There were many more people helping at the event other than just the fishermen. As I looked over the silent auction of items donated to the event, I saw items from all over that had been sent in. There were all sorts of fishing products donated from individuals, tackle companies, fishing organizations, boat dealers, and boat manufacturers. Several pros, such as Larry Nixon and KVD, had donated autographed jerseys and guides from Alabama to Texas to Arkansas had donated guide trips. Earl Bentz, CEO of Triton Boats, even donated two trips to his private lake to be auctioned and even pros such as Terry Bolton and Mark Menendez showed up to fish. Crispin Powley of Strike King Lure Company and his brother, Dylan Powley, actually won the event and immediately handed their $5000 first place check and Big Fish check back. How cool is that?
Not only did all of these people in the fishing community volunteer, but so did many from outside of the fishing world. I want to make sure to mention the huge group of volunteers that came out. Everywhere you turned, you could see the fluorescent green “Fishing for Jason” t-shirts that the volunteers were wearing among the hundreds of people at the event. There were volunteers assisting with auctions, serving food, helping with fish release, and everything else that went into making this event a great success.
At the end of the event $15000 of the $17000 in checks written to the winning teams were given back. I can’t even begin to describe the feeling that came over me as the teams yelled “Keep it” when their names were called to come up and receive their checks. All and all, over $80000 was raised to help Jason Sain and his family at the event. I just wanted to share this experience with everyone out there that couldn’t attend. There is no way to describe how amazing it was to see all of these people of the fishing community come together to help one of their own.
Donations can still be made to help Jason Sain and his family. Donations can be made at http://helpjason.populr.me/helpjason. There is a Facebook page named “Friends of Jason Sain” that gives updates on Jason and other events that are planned for him. I hope you all will pass this along so more people can find out about this cause.