TERRY BROWN For the pantagraph
Trust can be a good thing when accompanied by humility.
Too often they are not combined in sports and fishing. Self-confidence can therefore be misinterpreted as arrogance or audacity. I see it in professional sports, fishing and also in everyday life. Sitting back and watching how people deal with success is a life lesson.
Success can be measured in many ways. Gains, financial strength, position, or even big houses give others an idea of success, but ultimately it depends on the person. Luckily there are still people who have such a big heart and give in a way that sometimes goes unrecognized.
You can see them with their smiles and actions from a mile away and most of the time they don’t need a podium to show it. That’s just them and they’re not measured or selfish. Most of the time they put others ahead of themselves and just don’t care about “things”.
Last weekend we saw a group of anglers on Lake Bloomington raise funds for St. Jude Children’s Hospital as part of the Bloomington Normal Bass Club charity event there. Teams that registered for this event knew about the occasion and also knew that there was no big prize money involved.
Small things go a long way in making a person’s life better. The old adage “You would give your shirt off your back” to help someone else is her mantra. Being the winner, having the most, or being the center of attention takes a backseat to doing the right thing. I’m often in the fishing world and people are naturally attracted to people like that. Ego and money are never talked about, but action and frankly it’s more about the big picture and the endgame than victory or the best.
Erik Pokarney, owner of Lake Bloomington Marine, said it best when asked who won each check-in. He simply told the anglers the winner here was St. Jude’s. Few words but boy did it catch on.
Donations equal to 50% of the entry fee went straight to the charity and attendees knew they were going in. That’s what’s special. Pub II, Presley’s Outdoors, Bloomington Normal Bass Club, Interstate Battery, Wired2Fish, Pat Welch Salsa, Billy Gibson Classic Lures, Razor Lures, Mucky Duck Marina and Lake Bloomington Marine also provided prizes.
Using the Mucky Duck Tiki Tour Boat was a blast too. We’ve weighed the fish on the water by letting them off the ramp – also a good thing for ongoing conservation efforts. The IDNR has agreed that releasing the fish into deep water is ultimately good for the fishery.
We are blessed at Lake Bloomington because we have deep water near the ramp, but these fish were all released into the lake. The Mucky Duck offers lake tours on the lake for families and events. If interested, contact her at (309) 747-3825 for details.
The anglers’ humility and heart was further heightened as winning teams, who earned some pocket money, donated back to the cause after the event. Another proof that anglers are doing the right thing and that they care more than a few bucks. This is often not recognized.
To date we have over $1,200 in donations going directly to St. Jude Children’s Hospital. If you’re inclined, we can still take donations before handing them a single check.
Thank you to everyone who came and fished and congratulations to Jeff Sikora and his son for winning the event’s Big Bass at almost 5 pounds. We hope to have two more charity events in 2023.
The heart and empathy of the anglers doing things for others was fully visible, which is sometimes missed when all you do is tournaments. The Bloomington Normal Bass Club is growing and doing its part to grow the sport angler for anglers.
Photos: Over 160 kids hooked on fishing at Miller Park
Terry Brown is President of Wired2Fish.com, an industry-leading daily fishing site and social media community providing product information, industry news and fishing techniques. Visit www.Wired2Fish.com for more information.