Depending on the individual, fishing can mean a number of different things. For some it’s a relaxing pastime to unwind and surround yourself with nature. For others it can be a family outing, or a time honored tradition like an annual fishing trip to a remote lake. Oftentimes it is more about the company and comradery, the experience and the memories, and maybe harvesting a few fish for the dinner table. On the polar opposite end of the spectrum is the tournament pro or trophy angler, driven by competition, and the desire to catch the most and biggest fish in the lake. It is a world of high stakes, feverish pace, and intensity.
But for one day a year could these two worlds collide? The answer is yes – and here’s how. Enter the Peacock Friends & Family All Species Tournament (or PFFAST for short), definitely not the most catchy of acronym’s but that is part of the fun, especially in a day where texting, snap shat, and short forms dominate not only our personal lives and work place, but also sadly, how we now communicate with each other the majority of the time.
This “Tournament” was really designed for one sole purpose: To create an excuse for our family and friends to get together, a way to honour our loved ones, embrace our heritage, and a reason to unite around a common bond. The love of fishing and the importance of family.
Enough with the serious – introspective stuff! Our tournament format is actually pretty challenging for a number of reasons, and also a lot of fun:
• Tournament hours are 10 am – 4 pm (these hours are loose and change year to year)
• There is no maximum number of people per team, as many as you can fit in your boat
• Entry fee is one $10 – $20 prize per person
• The goal is to weigh in the 4 biggest bass and 4 biggest slot size walleye (13.8 – 17.7 inches) –largest combined aggregate weight wins!
• We live release all of the bass and harvest the walleyes for dinner
• The winning team simply gets first pick at the prizes, wins the coveted PFFAST Trophy, and more importantly bragging rights for the year!
• We also have prizes for the largest fish of each species caught – and also some funny prizes, like the smallest fish, first fish caught, etc.
• We practice catch, photo, and release for all of the larger bodied fish that we are not harvesting
There you have it. A simple, easy-going, fun-filled day that also creates a little friendly competition. In fact although my team has won the event 4 out of the 7 years, 2012 was the most memorable event. You see my Mom and Dad’s team pulled off the upset that year, and they still haven’t let me forget about it! This August will mark our 8th Annual PFFAST, on the surface it appears to be just that, a tournament, but deep down it was created for so much more.
Create a family heirloom and tradition
The River Rat Memorial Trophy is awarded to the individual that catches the largest walleye each year. It also highlights the name “River Rat” which is a badge of honour to locals that have grown up on the Winnipeg River for all of their lives. It is a form of respect, recognizing ones knowledge of the land, water, tradition, and resources within the area. Lastly, it honours our loved ones who were River Rats – for us It’s Bud Peacock and Ron Derouin who were Legends in their own right, by spending their entire lives on the river fishing and hunting with family and friends. It doesn’t all have to be serious and sentimental – find the biggest, ugliest, and gaudy old trophy you can. Remove the old name plates, and give it a polish!