2004 Trout Bum Tournament Wrap Up

2004 Trout Bum Tournament Wrap Up

For the 2004 Cabela's/FR&R Trout Bum Tournament, Presented by Ford, we decided to do things a little differently than in Tournaments past. The basic concept

  • By: Jim Reilly
For the 2004 Cabela's/FR&R Trout Bum Tournament, Presented by Ford, we decided to do things a little differently than in Tournaments past. The basic concept remained the same-we gave each team $500 to fulfill every angler's dream (getting paid to fish for at least 10 days) and required them to submit daily reports that we posted on our Web site (www.flyrodreel.com). But we also asked each team to raise money for a non-profit organization associated with coldwater conservation and education. In this way we hoped to generate money and publicity for organizations that do so much to protect the waters we love, and which educate the next generation of anglers.

Ford and Cabela's both participated in a big way: Ford agreed to give $5,000 to the first-place team's chosen organization, and Cabela's wrote a check for $2,500 to the second-place team's designated organization (in this case, there are points for second place, Mavrick). It goes without saying that this year's Tournament exceeded our wildest expectations. With the funds from Ford and Cabela's, the teams raised over $28,000 for the benefit of five very worthy organizations.

Although there could be only one overall winner, every team that entered the 2004 Cabela's/FR&R Trout Bum Tournament, Presented by Ford, did an outstanding job, and each contestant rightfully deserves the title of "Trout Bum." FR&R and the Tournament sponsors would like to thank all of the teams for their excellent efforts.

Here, then, is a recap of the 2004 Trout Bum Tournament. This year our Trout Bums experienced bears, bikinis, flat tires-and tons of fish. If this leaves you hungry for more Trout Bum action, visit www.flyrodreel.com and view each team's daily updates from their adventures last summer. And have a look at our Short Casts section in this issue for information about how you could become a contestant in the 2005 Trout Bum Tournament.

2004 Trout Bums of the Year: Team Leaky Waders

Who: Jordan Lindberg, 34; Bryon Anderson, 33

From: Mount Pleasant and Holland, Michigan

Organization: Anglers of the Au Sable (www.ausableanglers.org)

Amount Raised: $9,422.30

OK, so maybe these guys weren't the roughest, toughest contenders in this year's Tournament (they spent an awful lot of time bumming posh digs from friends and family). But there is no disputing that Jordan Lindberg and Bryon Anderson raised some serious dough for Anglers of the Au Sable.

Upon hearing that they'd been selected for the Tournament, Team Leaky Waders went right into fundraising overdrive, cold-calling households throughout Michigan and milking connections for donations. Their hard work paid off: they raised over $9,000-enough to earn them the $5,000 bonus from Ford, plus a $1,000 pontoon boat from Cabela's, as well as the title of Trout Bums of the Year.

However, it wasn't just Jordan and Bryon's fundraising abilities that crowned them the winners of the Tournament (although that was a rather large factor). Make no mistake: Jordan and Bryon are anglers of the first order. Their 12-day trip included some of the finest waters the state of Michigan has to offer: Lake Michigan, plus the Boardman, Au Sable and Fox rivers, and even though a cool, wet July slowed the fishing, Team Leaky Waders managed to bring quite a few browns, brookies and rainbows to hand.

With the $5,000 from Ford included, Jordan and Bryon raised over $14,000 for Anglers of the Au Sable, an organization dedicated to conserving and protecting Michigan's Au Sable River. Excellent work, guys!

Second Place: Team Ozark Chronicles

Who: Matt Tucker, 26; Brent McClane, 40

From: St. Louis, Missouri

Organization: Hooked on a Cure (www.hookedonacure.com)

Amount Raised: $4,243

During their 10-day blitzkrieg through the Ozark tailwaters, Team Ozark Chronicles landed over 300 trout, ate a lot of food, drank a lot of beer, bummed a ton of gear and raised some serious cash for a good cause.

But if there's one word to describe the bumming effort of our second-place team, it's definitely "shameless." No other team in the history of the Trout Bum Tournament has ever bummed so much stuff (and that's saying an awful lot). In fact, the value of all the swag Matt Tucker and Brent McClane wheedled out of businesses and individuals exceeded the amount of money they collected for their organization!

According to Matt and Brent's final calculations, they bummed $5,910 worth of goods, gear, hotels and beer during their trip. A quick perusal of their accounting of things bummed shows such posh items as a $680, four-night stay at a lodge near the White River; a bummed driftboat trip on Lake Taneycomo valued at over $400; plus two Orvis fly lines and a tippet dispenser. Not bad.

In the sake of fairness, however, we should note that Matt and Brent also raised over $4,000 via donations, pledges and a raffle Matt ran on his Web site, www.ozarkchronicles.com. The money will go towards Hooked on a Cure, a celebrity fly-fishing tournament held on Arkansas' White River that raises money for St. Jude Children's Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. As the second-place team, they received $2,500 from Cabela's, which brings their total to $6,743.

Runners-Up: Team Cetarius Mendici

Who: Dylan Hoffman, 25; Joshua Flenniken, 29

From: Dillon, Colorado

Organization: Trout Unlimited (www.tu.org)

Amount Raised: $2,664.50

These two guys definitely know how to do it right: take 13 days off work to hike Colorado's 55-mile Gore Range Trail; rely upon a super-hot support team for resupply, (OK Josh's wife and Dylan's "friend") and visit more high alpine lakes teeming with brookies and cutthroats than you could reasonably fish in a year. Oh, and for those who have forgotten their grammar-school Latin, Cetarius Mendici is a (very) rough translation of "begging fishmongers." In other words, Trout Bums…sort of.

But despite the advantages of their youth and impressive physiques (ha!), Dylan and Josh still faced a challenging hike in the thin air above 9,000 feet. There were sore muscles, bloody blisters, bears and rogue marmots. Apart from all this glamour, the boys from Dillon, Colorado, had some serious fundraising to do, and they went about it with a nice Gen-X flair: Their first effort on behalf of TU National was a raffle whereby the winner got to cut Josh's unruly mop top into a mohawk. They also took pledges for each mile they hiked, as well as per cutthroat caught.

During the first few days of their trip, their fish-matching fundraising effort looked to be in serious jeopardy, because all they seemed able to catch were small brook trout and some sucker-type fish. But they eventually found the cutts, and Dylan was rewarded with a nice 18-inch cutthroat-his first ever!

By the end of their 13-day odyssey, Dylan and Josh reported that they had lost 10 pounds apiece which, when you factor in the fish they caught, the vistas they viewed and the money they raised for TU, adds up as a pretty nice bonus for a good deed.

Runners-Up: Team Gettin' Fishy

Who: Brad Bohen, 35

From: Hayward, Wisconsin

Organization: Big Brothers/Big Sisters' Pass It On Mentors Program (www.passiton.ksbbbs.org)

Amount Raised: $1,300

Within 22 days spent afield and a-bum, Brad Bohen (a.k.a The Afton Angler) was this year's longest-lasting Trout Bum. And boy, did he ever cover some territory during his trip. From Michigan to Wisconsin (with a little bit of Canada thrown in there for good measure, eh) there doesn't seem to be a river that Brad didn't hit. If it had fish in it that could be caught on a fly, Brad was there. Here's a quick sample of some of the rivers Brad fished: the Chippewa for muskies; the Little Manistee for king salmon; Lake Michigan (brown trout); the St. Croix (smallmouths) and browns again on the Rush.

Brad was originally slated to fish with his pal, Mike Thomas (a.k.a Big Pike Mike), but due to a family emergency Mike had to scrub his Trout Bum plans. However, Brad found a suitable replacement in the person of Penny, a white English setter who acted as the brains of Team Gettin' Fishy.

It should be noted for the record that Brad did not fish the entire 22 days he was out. In one instance, he paid a visit to the Twin Falls, Wisconsin, headquarters of St. Croix Rods (where he took a plant tour, and bummed a rod-and-reel donation for his organization), and on another day, Brad toured the Harris Reel Company's Baldwin, Michigan, factory. It seems this guy eats, breaths and lives fly-fishing.

As part of his effort to raise money for Big/Brothers Big Sisters' Pass It on Mentors Program, Brad held a fly-fishing seminar on the banks of Michigan's Sable River. Over two dozen adults and children attended, and Brad introduced many of the youngsters to the sport-which in the end, is what this is all about.

Runners-Up: The Bear Creek Slammers

Who: Michael J. Carl, 48; Glenn Carl, 13

From: Marcellus, Michigan

Organization: The Bear Creek Watershed Council (www.rivercare.org)

Amount Raised: $3,400

No other Trout Bum team this year was as plagued with bad luck as the father-and-son duo of Michael and Glenn Carl: two flat tires, time-consuming computer glitches, a broken Dutch oven and, to top it all off, their original plan to bag a Wyoming Cutt-Slam (catching all four sub-species of cutts native there) had to be scrapped: In the end they figured it was simply too much work for such little fish.

Instead, the Bear Creek Slammers spent the majority of their 10-day trip chasing trout in the western Wyoming/ Yellowstone area-visiting the LaBarge, the Snake, the Bighorn and Monster Lake among other places. A three-day hiking/camping trip into the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone-full of fish, a few falls and amazing vistas-was described by Glenn as the "best fishing experience of my life."

Glenn, who at 13 has already won several fly-casting tournaments, came into his own out West. He seemed to have a small edge over his father in terms of total fish caught; however, in fairness it should be noted that it was Michael who caught the biggest fish: a 24-inch leviathan from Wyoming's Monster Lake.

Throughout their trip out West, the Carls sold polo shirts with a custom embroidered "Trout Bum" design. The shirts sold well and they were able to raise over three grand for the Bear Creek Watershed Council, an organization that works to protect the critical steelhead habitat of Michigan's Bear Creek.