PORT MANSFIELD — “Six point one five,” called out the weigh master.
The glistening fish was lifted off the wooden scale and handed to Timothy Bonner, who was in charge of the weigh masters yesterday at the 42nd Annual Port Mansfield Fishing Tournament.
Bonner cut open the fish, as he did all of them, to ensure no one had placed anything inside to increase the weight.
Someone spoke up and said, “There’s a lot of money in this. That’s why.”
The tournament was held to benefit the Port Mansfield Chamber of Commerce, said Tom Floyd, president.
“This is our annual fundraiser,” he said. “This is one of the best in years.”
The Chamber’s pavilion had been upgraded, and the silent auction had increased from 15 items to about 100. Inside the pavilion, coolers, wildlife paintings, rods and reels, a compound bow and arrows and even a kayak waited to be auctioned off. In one corner, several young musicians relaxed near a set of instruments. They would later play for Grammy-winner country music star Rick Treviño.
The cost of entering the tournament was $100. Bonner, a biology professor at Texas State University in San Marcos, said 269 people had entered the tournament.
“There were 60 for the piggy perch yesterday,” he said. “That was for the kids.”
Fish were entered in the Bay Division and Offshore Division. Anglers in the Bay Division competed to catch the heaviest redfish, speckled trout, flounder.
“Four point six five,” called out Bonner’s son, Brack, as he weighed a flounder. Brack and Kit Doncaster were both weigh masters, although one measured the fish while Brack weighed them.
“One point five zero,” said Brack, 17.
“Twenty-seven point seven eights,” said Doncaster.
Ruben Reyes believed he’d won the redfish division.
“I’ll find out tomorrow,” said Reyes, 33, a Harlingen native who’d driven from Corpus Christi for the tournament. He carried a redfish, a trout and a flounder in a bag.
“I went to Arroyo City and went wade fishing,” he said. “It was pretty good. I’ve fished for 20 years out there. There’s shallow areas and there’s lots of fish.”
Many of the anglers competed in teams.
Carrie Lee Buchen was all smiles as a member of the weigh team carried her impressive redfish and speckled trout in a white plastic tub.
“We were out in the bay,” she said. “I was in a boat but I was wading.”
She and her husband Charlie, a professional fishing guide, had taken two other teammates to a little-known area where he knew they could catch plenty of fish. One of them was Don Green, 67, who’d traveled with his friend Mark Schweers from Batesville.
Green’s redfish now lay still in the bucket. He took a quick glance at it and said the fish put up quite a fight. Green spent a full five minutes reeling it in.
Local television personality Richard Moore said he was surprised to see the number of flounder coming in — and their size.
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