Saturday, February 2, 2019

Fishers of Men Team Tournament Trail Comes to Central Illinois

Springfield, IL - By: Michael Rasmussen

Like other Tournament Directors, Carl Parks sent in his permit application and dates to the Illinois Department of Natural Resources on November 1, 2018.  With a few denials and shuffling of locations,  Carl formed a new division of the well known national organization, Fishers of Men, right here in Central Illinois.  "The Fishers of Men National Tournament Trail is a nonprofit, nondenominational ministry whose mission is:  To introduce Jesus to fishermen and their families and to invite them into a relationship with Him, through bass fishing tournaments."

With tournaments located at Lake Springfield, this is sure to be a competitive series with some of the best sticks around.  Anglers from Chicago and the greater Springfield Area have already committed to fish this new series.  "I'm hoping for 20 or so boats in the first year" said Carl at his booth for the Fish and Feather show in Bloomington.

Director Carl Parks recruits anglers at the Fish and Feather Show in Bloomington

With so many different clubs, fundraisers and other tournament events, what makes this series so different?  First and foremost they "introduce Jesus to fishermen and their families" and invite them to build a relationship with Him through tournament fishing.  This tournament trail is about comradere, about coming together for the sport of fishing and having a good time.   Every pre-tournament meeting includes a meal, good conversation and prayer.

I have a confession, I usually spend my Sundays fishing or hunting watching the sun rise and watch nature come to life.  That's my church.  That's not to say I don't know my faith but, it will be refreshing to hear the gospel from someone who is an angler and enjoys the outdoors.

Maybe, you're a little weary about the ministry and you just want to fish tournaments.  That's okay, you should still come out and fish the Central Illinois Division of Fishers of Men this year.  Four out of the five tournaments will be on Lake Springfield with the second tournament of the year being on Glenn Shoals.  These are great fisheries and should have heavy bags weighed-in.  You'll also see "A professionally run tournament trail, with a fantastic weigh in site, good food, a great message, standings posted the day of the event with pictures and an article written about the fishing and the winners."   Carl has also been hard at work with sponsors to help ensure 100% payback along with some great bonuses !

Based on 20 boats, first place anglers will receive $1,500 and plaques for their accomplishments.  Second place will receive $700, third place will receive $400, fourth place will receive $200, and Big Bass will receive plaques.  Here's where it gets fun.  If you apply for a Scheels Credit Card and pay for the tournaments using it, this will give you a shot at the $5000 big bass prize contest.  The team who wins big bass with a weight of 4.19lbs wins!  All you have to do is pay for the tournaments using your Scheels Card.  You have to pay for the tournaments anyway, and all of the pre-tournament meetings will be at Scheels, so it's really a win/win.

But wait there's more:  the team that weighs in 8.11lbs will win $500 in the Direction Challenge.  Yep.  you don't even have to win the tournament and you can win $500.  This is the great part of all the hard work that Carl has put in.  Having sponsors means that you're able to do these great incentives and challenges.  Don't leave the weigh-in early just because you've had a bad day.  Those just outside the money spot will be entered into a drawing to win two custom Denali rods valued at $180.

I am excited about this tournament and will be fishing it for two reasons.   One is for the ministry messages and the ability to chat about the outdoors with like minded peers and hopefully build lifelong friendships.  And second, being all the incentives of cash giveaways and prizes.

So, if you are looking to get into tournament fishing or are looking for a new series to fish then you should give the Fishers of Men Central Illinois Division a shot.  See you on the water!  

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