When you think “Kayak Fishing”, philanthropy might not top your list. It might not even crack the top ten words you think of when this fast growing sport pops into your mind, that was not the case this past Saturday. NYKBF (New York Kayak Bass Fishing) came together with local kayak shop Fuzzy Guppies, to put together the largest Kayak Fishing tournament in New York State history. This tournament’s main purpose was to raise money for a local Suicide Prevention Charity, The Tristan Foundation. The event also had amazing food from the local food truck Lighthouse BBQ, serving pulled pork, Walleye sliders, brisket, and more.
The charity tournament marks the start of NYKBF’s tournament season, and has grown from 8 anglers in 2017, 30 in 2018 to an amazing 54 anglers this year, making this tournament the largest kayak fishing tournament to ever be held in the state of New York. A “Catch Photo Release” process, measuring the fish on a special board and submitting a photo to an online scoring system allows the group to fish year round. Judges grade the fish using a standard list of rules and the person with the three longest fish wins!
Michael Erdinger, a previous participant in the event, added the following: “The tournament is a great initiative and all participants seem to enjoy themselves, setting up for a good cause. It’s a perfect chance for pulling out your crankbaits and have a lot of fun. I’ll certainly be back next year.”
“The amount of support and interest we have gotten this year for the charity tournament has been completely overwhelming” said NYKBF Tournament Director, “to have people come out for a tournament, knowing all the money was going to charity was amazing. It truly shows just how great our group of anglers are, banding together to support a great cause.”
The Tristan Foundation, founded by the Folk family in Waterloo, NY has been advocating for Suicide Prevention and awareness since 2018 and can be found online at https://thetristanfoundation.com/ through the hard work of Fuzzy Guppies and NYKBF, and in part from the very generous donation of a brand new Kayak to be raffled off at the tournament from Jackson Kayak. The event was able to bring in $2689.00 for the foundation. Christopher Folk, founder of the Tristan Foundation shared some very emotional words as well as some pretty shocking facts like: “in 2017 there 47,173 Americans died by suicide. That is 129 /day or just over 5/hour – so in the short time this event has been underway around 40 Americans have died by suicide. Tristan was one of those 47,173 souls lost in 2017. To put that into perspective, consider Seneca County, with a population of around 35,000. Each year the United States is losing the equivalent of 1.3 Seneca Counties – to suicide.”
NYKBF continues their tournament series with a May 4th trip to Otisco Lake and a June 1st trip to Silver Lake. A full list of their events can be found on their website www.NYKBF.com and all their events are open to the public. Fuzzy Guppies opens up for their 10th season May 1st, offering kayak rentals and sales throughout the Finger Lakes region.
If you or anyone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline @ 1-800-273-TALK, or text “HOME” to 741-741.