Fishing for March of DimesPublished 8:10pm Saturday, May 4, 2013
Suffolk Parks and Recreation’s annual March of Dimes Bass Fishing Tournament almost did not happen this year due to low turnout, but six individuals showed up to participate at Lone Star Lakes on Saturday.
Rod Sickafus, of Gates County, N.C., was awarded $40 for the biggest catch and $20 for the biggest fish. While the runners-up had caught more fish, his catch of three totaled more in weight — about eight pounds. The biggest fish was Sickafus’ 4.8-pounder.
Sickafus was accompanied by his friend and fellow fisherman, Robert Dodge, of Suffolk, both of whom have fished Lone Star Lakes off and on for about nine years. The two shared a boat on Saturday, and each boat carried a $25 entrance fee to be in the event.
“You made money on this tournament,” Dodge told Sickafus afterward.
They had made up their mind what they would do if they were the only ones to show up for the competition.
“We were going to give the money to charity anyway and then go fish if there wasn’t any tournament,” Sickafus said. “That was the plan, but then a couple of people showed up, so we had a tournament.”
Park Attendant Crystal Walker, who ran the tourney, described the history of the event that was started almost a decade ago by Park Ranger Sgt. J.R. Ruggiero.
“His daughter was born premature, so he started this tournament because it was a pastime that he loved, and it was going to give back to the March of Dimes, because they were so helpful with the children’s hospital and everything,” she said.
Ruggiero had considered canceling the charity competition if only two people came, but Walker urged him not to.
“I was like, ‘Oh, no, I’ll do it,’” she said. “Even if it’s just two people, it doesn’t really matter. Just any little bit, I think, will help the cause.”
While she acknowledged administering the event was part of her job duties, she said, “I like the cause itself, for the health and betterment of children, so that less children will suffer and just have a better chance at life.”
Chuck Parker and Blake Norris, of Portsmouth, formed a team that had some success catching bass in the Finger Lake.
Bob Pampell, of Gatesville, N.C., was among the other competitors who came from out of state, though he works in Suffolk.
“I work at Sims Metal Management, and a customer came through and told me about it,” he said. “So, that’s why I’m here.”
He tested out his new kayak on Rainbow Lake in his first visit to the Lone Star Lakes.