The morning of Saturday, March 10 couldn’t have come any sooner. I always get antsy on tournament mornings. Who wouldn’t?! But this tournament was different. It wasn’t about me trying to get ahead of the competitive pack; it was about helping support children with a rare brain disorder called Dandy-Walker Syndrome and a particular tournament called Anglers for Awareness. The disease is a rare brain disorder that affects 1 in 2,500 children. Currently there is no cure for Dandy-Walker Syndrome, only treatment for associated problems.
My friend Karl had arrived in town the day before, and I spread the word to him about the tournament, so we ended up fishing together. The morning started off with some surprisingly beautiful weather. All week the forecast said it was going to be rainy with winds from the east, so we were ready with our rain jackets stowed.
The early topwater bite was pretty slow, resulting in a few small hungry jacks taking the bait and a few small blowups–nothing to write home about. Almost immediately after Karl switched to a jig, the action start picking up, pulling in two “tournament-entry” trout to start things off. We split ways to our own routes, which resulted in myself getting two trout on the ruler.
As other angler pressure surrounded us, we pushed on to spots farther south. It wasn’t long when I hooked up to a small snook lounging in a sun-soaked patch of water. I put him on the board to measure. Not long after, Karl bends the rod and reels in a nice red to diverse his species, eventually pulling in a pair of fine snook to cap off his productive day. I tied his large snook with one of my own at 25.75 inches.
We kept an eye on our watches until it was time to head in and turn in our camera. As we heard the anglers talk about their results back at the check-in table, Karl started to get a little excited, comparing them to what he knew he caught. As time ticked down, participants replenished their energy with some delicious food that was donated and checked out the raffle items on display that were also donated. Karl was pretty surprised when they said his name, grinning like a pig in the mud, as he walked up to shake hands and be congratulated for winning his first tournament. Great job Karl!
But I do have to give credit to all the volunteers that made this successful tournament together. Countless hours have to be poured into something like this and it all has to start somewhere. It just goes to show that there can be a win-win situation when people pull together for a good cause.
You can continue to help support the treatment for this incurable brain disorder by visiting www.dandy-walker.org. A big thanks to all the businesses that helped make this event a success.
Dylan Jouppi’s family in Jensen Beach, Florida and Abby Isakson’s family in Plano, Texas are working together to raise awareness and to help fund research for Dandy-Walker. If you would like more information about Dandy-Walker or Dylan and Abby’s story, please like them on Facebook at Dallas Fun Run for Dandy-Walker, visit www.dallasfunrundw.com or contact firstname.lastname@example.org; 863-956-6993.