The Boy Scouts of Calhoun County brought back their annual Fish-O-Ree Tournament Sept. 9 at Alcoa Pier in Point Comfort, their second event since COVID-19 restrictions were lifted. The tournament saw Scouts and non-Scouts compete for a variety of prizes.
The event, sponsored by the Corpus Christi Boy Scouts Council and run by local Boy Scout leader and Silver Beaver recipient Ron Crane, features categories such as most fish caught along with other smaller titles. Overall, a total of 39 fish were caught among the 25 competitors, with Cooper Mathieu winning the most fish caught at 5, and Mathieu Vallejo winning the most fish caught with a 21-inch, 4-pound redfish.
“We did really well this year, better than last year. My son, a Cub Scout, caught three fish, and he was very excited about it. We came last year, and this is our second year,” Cecilia Garcia said.
The top finishers in the contest received fishing poles, toys and basketballs, while second place runners-up received a fidget toy and other rewards. According to Crane, the goal of the event is to help introduce the Boy Scouts and recruit them. Crane also said no child leaves the event empty-handed.
“We’ve been doing this for 46 years, except for 2019 and 2020. It slowed down over those years, but we’re picking it up again. This is kind of a family thing. My son and son-in-law are weighing masters, one son-in-law is the cook, and my daughters write down what they weigh,” Crane said. Children.” “But the main goal of this is to recruit children into Scouting, both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. “It’s a good program, and that’s why we work so hard to do it.”
Fish-O-Ree also served as a way to teach young children about boating and fishing safety. With the help of Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Game Wardens Lane Turner and Casey Willmon, the children learned the proper use of life jackets, kill switches and other tools.
“This knowledge is for kids to know and take home with them, and when they go home, they can tell their parents what they learned,” Wilmon said. “This is primarily one of the big things we do for kids. We will always try to step in here and try to teach them.”
This year’s turnout, while still high, also represents the ongoing issues facing Boy Scouts in the county. Since Fish-O-Ree had more than a hundred attendees, according to Crane, the number of active Boy Scouts in the area was slowly declining. Crane said the problem is due to force closures across the county.
“People were coming from all over. People came from Round Rock. One scoutmaster from El Campo even brought a school bus full of Scouts every year. “One year I had over 200 Scouts,” Crane said. Down now. There are no active troops in Port Lavaca, Point Comfort, or Olivia, but I will try to get the troops back in Point Comfort again. But we need to do more advertising and encourage more children to go scouting.”
However, Crane said he and his family are still working to recruit and boost the Boy Scouts’ attendance, hoping to bring in a larger crowd next year.
“I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up, but my kids are ready and in a position to keep this going when I hand them the fish or Rey,” Crane said. “We may be a little behind this year, but we will work to make next year better.”