BOYCE— Many groups put on youth fishing tournaments but none do it as well as District III of the Association of Louisiana Bass Clubs. It is not only the biggest of its kind in the state, but arguably the best run.
Since its inception in 1984, it is estimated more than 18,000 children – boys and girls – ages 3 to 14 and their parents have come to Cotile Lake on the first Saturday in August to enjoy a morning of fishing and fun.
“Tournaments like this are important for the sport,” said tournament director Kenny Sayes. “They are important for the future of fishing. Important for parents but more so it is very important for all the kids who participate.”
The tournament, which has had more than 700 (a record 719) to participate, has averaged 500 kids over its history but for the last 10 years has exceeded that average by more than 100.
“I have been doing this for the last 20 years,” Sayes said, “and believe me there have been times I wish I could hit the snooze button when the alarm goes off at 3 a.m. However, any fatigue I may have quickly disappears when I see the smiles on the kids’ faces as they come through the gate. Their smiles are what keep me doing this.”
Like Sayes, a small army of volunteers will join him Saturday, Aug. 4 at the Cotile Lake Recreation Complex for the 29th annual ALBC/Burger King/Alexandria Optimist Youth Fishing Tournament. The gates open at 5 a.m. and fishing begins at safe daylight.
There is a $5 entry fee and applications can be picked up at any participating Burger King restaurant in Rapides Parish, Sayes Office Supply (448-4225) in Alexandria or by calling former ALBC president Dan Touchet at 445-0897 or District III Director Jim Foster at 613.6886.