There is nothing more I love than fishing with friends. Getting to do so while raising money and awareness for numerous foundations like the National MS Society and Heroes on the Water make it even better. I received a call from Barrett Fine, the regional manager of ACK about teaming up to fish the upcoming Casting for a Cause Tournament. The invite was welcomed opportunity. When Barrett mentioned fishing alongside Magic Mike (Mike Morales) and his ultra-talented wife Sandra of Fin Factory Kayak Charters I was hooked.This was not a guided trip, it was a group of friends who are always busy finally getting a chance to fish together. It was the perfect scenario. Fishing with good friends and doing it for such a worthy cause doesn’t get any better.
The Captain’s meeting was scheduled for 6 p.m. on Thursday (5/18/15) at Roberts Point Park in Port Aransas. I made the drive down to meet my friends who were already there enjoying the festivities, food, and beverages. This being my second year to fish this great tour I knew that Nustar would not disappoint. Sure enough, when I arrived the food was delicious, beverages were ice cold, and volunteers ready.
We ate, talked, and got a good look at many of our fellow competitors. This year the tournament attracted approximately 800 anglers. Game plans were discussed and tackle talk and reports filled the air. Everyone was ready to head home for the evening with full bellies and high hopes. Friday morning was going to come early. The alarm sounded off at 4:30 a.m. and we all stumbled out of rooms ready to go. The forecast called for scattered thunderstorms in the a.m. and increasing winds in the afternoon. All the yaks were unloaded, 4 Hobies and my lone Wilderness Systems kayak. I didn’t say anything but I was on a mission to catch fish and keep up with everyone else. Bait was divided and we dispersed to find fish. A small but strong storm blew through and thoroughly soaked everyone as we fished, but nothing unsafe. Both Speckled trout and Red fish were caught, nothing big enough to make a dent in the leader board. Back at the weigh-in we turned in our fish and watched stringer after stringer come in with beautiful specimen that the Texas Coast had given up.
Although nobody in our group came in with a winning stringer, we all had a blast. We ate and talked about how each other’s day had gone as we awaited the results. The raffle started shortly after weigh-in closed. The prizes for the raffles and giveaways covered both the stage and tables in front of the stage. Everything from fishing rods and reels, Yeti Coolers, to BBQ pits was up for grabs.
Steve Schmidt and his team at Nustar, plus the army of sponsors did an outstanding job of putting together a first class tournament. At the time of this write-up the final numbers were not available, but an early estimate suggest that 200,000 to 215,000 dollars was raised for charity. Heaven for Hope, the National MS Society, and Heroes on the Water are just three recipients, but over 30 other organizations greatly benefit from the effort and support provided by this event. All of this would not have been possible without the support of numerous sponsors, volunteers, and anglers. Enough cannot be said about Nustar and everyone who is a part of Casting for a Cause. Thank you for all that you do. A special thank you to Austin Canoe & Kayak and their supporting vendors: Bending Branches, Werner, Lit Coolers, Barrett Fine, Mike and Sandra Morales of Fin Factory Kayak Charters, and Wilderness Systmes Kayaks.
– Eugene Mora III Wilderness and ACK Ambassador