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Bay Bash Recap: A Fun Day of Fishing and an Evening of Blues – All For a Good Cause

Nearly 200 anglers competed in the 3rd Annual Bay Bash Family Fishing Tournament, followed by a Benefit Concert Saturday August 11, 2018 at Ingram Bay Marina in Wicomico Church. Although thunderstorms had been forecasted, the attendees experienced only a brief afternoon squall. The tournament awarded over $3,000 in prizes. Ingram Bay Marina and NAPS (Northumberland Association for Progressive Stewardship) partnered to produce the event this year to raise money for families in the Northern Neck who have children with special needs.

The evening festivities included the tournament awards ceremony, a raffle, a “moon bounce” for the kids, and a concert by an award-winning blues band with local roots – the Tom Euler Trio. “The music was excellent,” said NAPS president Mike Ahart. “It’s amazing that we had such great talent at this event.”

NAPS volunteers staffed the food and drink concessions, which featured a reusable grocery bag display, a paper straw dispenser/display, and other posters and materials to promote good stewardship of the community’s land and water. NAPS provided recycling bins for the event and afterward transported the empty cans and bottles to a recycling center.

The fishing tournament was open to boats, kayak/canoe and shore/pier anglers. Bay Bash organizer Capt. Billy Pipkin said, “From Contenders with triple 300hp engines to pier fishermen, everyone had a blast and prize money was shared among a diversity of anglers.”

Unlike traditional tournaments, fish are measured by length not weight. Anglers are allowed to s-t-r-e-t-c-h their fish to maximum length at check-in. Adults and kids alike had fun tugging the tails to reach maximum length.

In the Seigler Reels Grand Prize Division, Pete Conway of Team Chesapeake Bank aboard the ‘Ghost Bite’amassed a whopping 79.38 inches of total aggregate length from six different fish species including; Spanish mackerel, bluefish, spot, croaker, speckled trout, and whiting. He picked up key wins in whiting and speckled trout, placed 2nd in bluefish and 3rd in both the mackerel and croaker divisions.

Conway, representing Team Chesapeake Bank, also claimed the Team Champion Trophy, awarded to the Bay Bash sponsor fishing team with the highest aggregate length of catch.

Jason Morauske of team Finsanity took 2nd overall with four species aggregate length of 55.25”. Maggie Hall of team Paper Doll took 3rd with an aggregate length of 46.12”. Jason Dunn with the Dunn-Rite Auto team, aboard Bay Tripper, would snag the largest fish measured in, a whopping 24.5” Spanish mackerel, taking 1 st place in the Open – Spanish Mackerel Division.

Main Street Pharmacy and Bay Restoration co-sponsored a charter boat to provide access to individuals with special needs. The all-star Special Angler team won prize money in the Open Division with wins by Joe Gittinger (2016 Special Angler National Champion) of Cape Charles taking 1st in spot (9.12”), Alex Mendoza (National record holder) of Woodbridge taking 2nd in whiting, Jeff Cogswell of Manassas taking 3rd in whiting and 1st overall in the Special Angler Division. Gittinger picked up his winning spot while fishing at the pier after the boat docked. Sarah Capp of Lottsburg, part of the same team, would pick up the Lady championship, securing four (4) species and the tie breaker over Tina Foster of Lil Bill, Maggie Hall of Paper Doll, and Kristen Perry of Top Seacret. All four ladies scored on four species, but Capp reached the four fish plateau first, earning the $200 cash prize. “We hope to add another boat in next years event to accommodate more local folks with special needs," said Pipkin. “By removing barriers, individuals with disabilities are able to compete in public events." Lisa Smith, who has a daughter with Dravet Syndrome competed in the Bay Bash with her family. “Disabilities can be isolating not only for the individual, but also for families," said Smith. "Competing gives a family hope, allowing them to be integrated in the community."

The Youth Division featured a tight matchup between Madelyn McMichen with team Lil Bill from Little River (4 species), Henry Tambellini of Kilmarnock (4 species), Billy Shifflet with team Kraken of Weems (3 species), and Maddox Morauske of Team Finsanity out of Ingram Bay (3 species). McMichen’s first catch, a striped killfish catch prior to boarding the boat, would prove pivotal. By landing a Spanish mackerel at 9:34 am, McMichen would be the first youth to score their 4th species. The reigning “Queen of the Bay” Eastern Shore champion, Christina Simon of Reston crowned McMichen the new Bay Bash “Queen of the Western Bay”. For those in attendance, the young McMichen’s poignant and darling speech, resembling an oscar winning acceptance, was quite memorable.

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