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The Weigh In

 The take off in the morning and the weigh in are the two most exciting times of a tournament and the rest is just ‘plain work.’ After a hard day of fishing, you head to the designated check in area. You load your boat on the trailer and head to the weight area. The adrenaline starts to pump and your heart starts to race in anticipation. While you’re in line, both you and your partner review your catch for the day. You discuss how much weight you think is in your boat’s live well. You wonder if you have enough weight to place in the money or even win the tournament. You look back and reminisce about the one that got

away… just as you put the net in the water, or the one that wrapped you around that tree and broke you off. You talk about, if we would have only picked-up that last kicker fish (the big one for the day). You watch as your fellow tournament anglers reach into there live wells and pull out their fish, one by one. As each fish is pulled out and placed in the basket, you try to estimate the weight of each fish. As they walk to the scales you have your own estimate of what their catch weighs. Then you hear the Weigh Master call out their total weight. This is the time when your heart races just a little harder. You think you have a good catch of quality fish of your own. As the weights are announced, one by one, you either become excited or disappointed. You estimate your own catch to be 16.8 pounds and you hear 12.3 pounds, 15.8 pounds, and 13.9 pounds. Your heart races with anticipation. You think you have a chance. Is your Big Fish good enough to win the Big Fish money? You may have a solid 6.8 pound fish of your own. The Weight Master calls out Big Fish 5.9 pounds. Your heart races a little harder with anticipation. There are ten teams ahead of you and forty teams behind you to weigh in. As you get closer to your turn, you begin to get more excited. As you pull your fish out of the live well one by one and hear the crowd that has gathered, start commenting on your team’s catches. You hear the “ooh’s and awe’s” from the crowd. You reach in and pull out a 2 pounder, then a 2.25, a 2.8, a 3.0 and finally your big fish, that you believe weights 6.8 pounds. The crowd's response with delight. You head to the Weigh Master; the fish are put on the scale. Then the announcement comes, total weight 16.39 pounds, with a Big Fish of 6.28 pounds. It is a lesser weight than you thought. You ask around, “what is the heaviest weight?” “What is the Big Fish?” So far there is a total weight of 15.39 pounds and big
fish is 6.25 pounds. Your first reaction is one of great joy as you turn to your partner and say, “we’re in the money.” Now your adrenaline really starts flowing. You are giving each other high fives.

As each team heads to the weigh in area, you are there watching. Again you try to estimate the weight of each fish and total limit. You still think you are ‘in it.’ The Weigh Master announces 16.35 pounds and “Big Fish, 7.25 pounds.” You tell your partner, “well we lost Biggest Fish, but we are still in the money,” but there are still a lot of teams to come.

As each team weighs in, you are right there with anticipation. As each remaining team’s weights are announced, we discover we have dropped to 3rd place. You tell your partner, “that’s all right, where still in the money.” As more teams come in, we drop down two more places. You tell your partner, “well it doesn’t look good at this point!” We are now in 5th place with 20 teams still to go.

In the Father and Son Division we are looking good. The team that was ahead of us has weighed in and they have fallen behind. We have won that division. You say to your partner, “we maybe out of the money today, but we took the lead in the Father and Son Division.” All the boats have weighed in. We have finished 15th out of 53 teams. You feel a little disappointed, but we did the best we could. You look back even harder at this point about the one that got away and how if we only had that one fish it would have made the difference in finishing in the top 5. We may not have finished in the money today, but what a ‘blast’ it was just being able to compete.  

It is now awards time. Our team was called up to receive the 15th place and the 1st place finish certificate in the Father and Son Division. My young partner, and son Eric went up to receive our awards, and as he started to walk back he was called back to pickup a check for $140.00. This was from one of the options we participated in. The smiles and high fives started up once again. It’s great to see your son or daughter walk up to the podium and pick up an award of any kind. This makes it all worth while. The smile on their face is priceless and you will never be able to erase that picture from your mind. You may not win them all or even one, just being on the water is what it is all about, spending quality time with your son or daughter. You tell your teammate, “we didn’t get them today, but will get them next time.”

--Larry Elshere


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