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Weather can't dampen annual fishing tourney
Event raises $15K for area food bank
Phill Castleberry, right, reads off winning raffle tickets as Winston Moody hands him more during the American Proteins bass tournament at Little Hall Park. - photo by Autumn McBride

An annual fishing event didn’t reel in quite as much as years past, but organizers were still pleased.

Natalie Gunter, organizer of American Proteins' annual bass tournament on Saturday, said “the economy and weather” may have played a part.

This year’s fundraiser, which benefitted the Hightower Baptist Food Bank for the second year in a row, drew about 50 boats, Gunter said, down from the nearly 100 the past several years.

The food bank, which is supported by more than 60 northeast Georgia churches, provides more than $7,000 worth of food to families in need each month.

“We raised just over $15,000,” she said. “And we had a little over $21,000 last year. But we were still proud of the $15,000.”

While it didn’t rain Saturday, it was extremely windy and cool.

“It was very windy, but some of the fishermen say that doesn’t bother them,” Gunter said.

She said the conditions couldn't keep the fishermen’s families away from the weigh-in Saturday afternoon.

“We had a good crowd. There was a lot of people there,” Gunter said.

A number of prizes were awarded. The top 10 heaviest overall catches received cash prizes ranging from $100 to $2,000.

Gunter said the “big fish” award of $500 went to anglers Mitchell Mullins and Daryl Strayhorn for a nearly 6-pound fish.

Looking ahead, organizers have begun preparations for 2012, which will be the tournament's 15th year.

“We all work so well together and have done this for so long, everyone just knows what they need to do,” she said.