Back in February Joey and I had Chris Barlow on episode 35 of the Brown Water Banter podcast. After that episode we talked with Chris about starting our own fishing tournament. We wanted to do a tournament early in the year and target a fish that other tournaments weren't focused on. We immediately decided that sheepshead would be a great fish to feature in the tournament. Sheepshead are fairly easy to catch and they can be caught off of fishing peers. That was attractive to us because we wanted people who didn't own boats to still be able to participate in the tournament. Although sheepshead would be the main event, we also decided to add a separate division for speckled trout and redfish. We thought this would make the tournament appeal to more anglers. Chris liked the idea and we immediately started working on setting up the rules for the tournament. Chris also reached out to David Kuehn from Coastal Angler Mississippi Magazine and asked him to be a part of the tournament. David agreed and we were now a four-man team. We decided to call the tournament the Sheepshead Showdown.
Now that we had the type of fish selected and the rules in place, we needed a venue. We knew we wanted a place that was on the water and would be accessible by boat. The Blind Tiger in Biloxi was a perfect fit in our minds, so we reached out to the manager there, Scott. Scott immediately said yes and was also willing to sponsor one of the categories. We set the date for Saturday March 21st and started to promote the event. However, as we all know the COVID-19 pandemic changed everyone’s plans for 2020. A few days before the tournament, we had to postpone the event because of all the restrictions that were being placed on businesses. We put out a post on all our social media platforms letting people know that the event would be rescheduled for a later date. We also let people know that they could get a full refund if they had already registered for the tournament. However, most people did not request a refund and stayed entered in the tournament. We were impressed with the fact that people we're willing to remain in the tournament until we could figure out a date to reschedule.
Seven months went by before it was safe enough to reschedule the tournament. After looking on the internet to see what other events were going on in the month of October, we decided Saturday October 3rd would be the best day to reschedule the tournament. We were extremely glad that that's the day that we picked because the weather was absolutely beautiful. We could not have asked for a better day. We started the weigh in at 4:00 PM and kept the scales open till 6:00 PM. Tim Prochilo, from Reel Smooth Reel Repair, served as our weighmaster. The turnout was great and there were a lot of really nice fish that were weighed in.
Our favorite part was watching all the kids show up to weigh fish for the kids’ division. The first 20 kids that weighed in a fish got a free rod and reel and the kids that weighed in the top 10 heaviest got a trophy. First place in the sheepshead division went to Darren Richards but the 7.66 pound sheepshead. Darren also took home $1000 cash and the championship Sheepshead Showdown belt. Steve Treigle took 2nd place with a 6.08 pound Sheepshead that won him $500 in cash. Donald Wagers won 3rd place with his 5.92 pound Sheepshead and he walked away with $250.
All in all, it was a great day and a great event. We're already working on the next one. We want to thank everyone who participated in the tournament. It was our first year and we couldn’t be happier with how everything went. We also want to thank all our sponsors and The Blind Tiger Biloxi for hosting. Will see you next year!