Virginia Military Institute teamed up with local 5Rivers school Washington and Lee on the weekend of March 17/18 at Escatawba Farms located in Covington, VA to host their 7th-year running annual fishing tournament. With the involvement of two 5Rivers clubs, about 17 students and 8 officials/advisers attended the event.
About the tournament:
The tournament works by teaming up one student from VMI with one student from Washington and Lee for a total of 8-10 teams. From here the stretch of river that we fish is broken up into 8-10 different sections that we call "beats". Each team is tasked with fishing 3 random beats during the competition. Each team is also given one adviser who is in charge of making sure all of the rules are followed and can offer advice to struggling teams to help succeed in catching fish. The 5 biggest trout are scored at each beat for a maximum of 15 scoring fish. 10 points are awarded per centimeter for each teams biggest 5 fish and then 100 points for every additional trout caught.
Species of fish targeted / caught?
95% of the fish caught were rainbows in the 16"-19" range but there were a few brookies caught and even one tiger trout. The largest fish caught was a 20" Rainbow caught by first time fly fisher, Miyah Boyd.
What flies were producing?
A wide array of flies produced. Initially, aggressive fish could be taken by Kreelex streamers but after the first 30 minutes anything small seemed to be the ticket. Small natural colored nymphs worked the best for most teams. Once the depth was adjusted correctly and you get the nymph right in front of the fish, you could really put on a clinic.
Were there Tournament Prizes?
Yes, Prizes were awarded to the top 3 teams and then the team that caught the biggest fish as well. The first-place team received a pair of Orvis Clearwater Combos with a hand carved fly box and free day passes to fish at Escatawba again. The second-place team each received $100 Cabelas gift card and a few Costa hats. Third place received a nice Orvis fly box and some Costa hats as well. The team that caught the biggest fish each received a code for a free pair of Costas. Every angler was also given a swag bag and then a bunch of smaller prizes as well (stickers, croakies, hats, etc.).
Fishing tournaments are a great way to get new people involved in the sport, while making connections with other clubs in the area. Overall, the tournament was a success and teams went home with some awesome new gear, Great work by VMI and Washington / Lee University!