The 2005 Lay Lake Open is in the books and for those who saw it, what a show it was! This year saw a little of everything and made for a memorable tournament that we won‚t soon forget. We made some significant changes to the tournament this year and made some big improvements that will aid conservation efforts in large tournaments from now on. We made fourteen people‚s year with our "Fish with the pros" promotion and drew national attention to Lay Lake for one magical day.
For the last five months we have been running an in-store promotion aimed at partnering fourteen of our customers with their fishing heroes for a day of competitive fishing on Lay Lake. In one day we saw some of the biggest names ever in competitive fishing take the stage at Lay Lake and weigh in with their take on the most successful amateur event in the country. We had a great mix of competitors take part in the event and had two women get sent out to compete with some of our pros, which made this event even better! So the action on the water had some changes this year, but when competitors came to the scales, that‚s where the changes really took place.
Shimano America and Shimano Canada teamed up to bring the most exciting addition to this year‚s tournament that will forever change large tournaments everywhere. For the first time ever we used a new weigh in system that used water to weigh in our fish in an effort to prevent fish from dying due to long weigh in lines. After 171 boats weighing in and six fish dead- I would say we were successful in our attempts to preserve our resource. The comments made by the competitors at the weigh in told the story of the new system, but it took the familiar voice of Ray Scott to sell the pros on the fact that this is the wave of the future for weigh-ins. E.S.P.N. sent the „Bass Center‰ crew down to record this historic event and bring national attention to this conservation effort.
The statistics from this event are mind boggling! Of course we hit our 500 boat limit and 14 pros to give us 1015 fishermen. Of those, there were 43 parent/child teams, 31 mixed couples, and 4 major networks present at the event. Everyone is aware of the tackle that we give out for the participants, and this year we totaled an amazing $87,000 in donations from vendors for giveaways! We really saw incredible support from vendors in this event and already have commitments for next year. Daiwa brought a $100,000 casting contest in for added excitement at our weigh-in in hopes of changing one person‚s life with one cast, which came dangerously close to happening. For those who want to know who makes this tournament possible, here‚s a list: Shimano- $30,000; Jackall- $12,000; PRADCO- $10000; Pure Fishing- $10,000; G-Loomis- $7,500; NetBait- $5000; Strike King- $5000. That‚s an impressive list for any event and we can‚t do it without their support.
For any of the anglers that competed in this tournament, they were witness to something that has never happened before and were active participants in the largest restocking of a lake anywhere in the country by tournament anglers. We doubled the number of fingerlings released this year and included F-1 strain largemouth in our release to really take the live release to another level, so we won‚t see the real impact of this year for another couple of tournaments, but those present know what a huge impact we will have in the future of Lay Lake. We are already working on 2006 and will bring more to the table next year so get signed up early and hang on!
We are signing up folks now for 2006,2007 and 2008, so come on and join the fun!
Thanks to everyone,