Fishing tourney about fun, entertainmentDave Allen returned to the top of the Poorman’s Fishing Tournament on Lake Mitchell Sunday.
By: Marcus Traxler, The Daily Republic
Dave Allen returned to the top of the Poorman’s Fishing Tournament on Lake Mitchell Sunday.
He won the tournament again, the 10th time he’s been on the winning team. His son, Tyson, joined him for the sixth time. Together, they brought in 41.25 pounds of panfish and walleyes.
While the Allen’s have made it a habit of winning the tournament they help put on, they agree it’s more about having fun, something that has happened for 27 years now.
“We’re pretty serious about it and you have to be out here more than once if you want to win,” Dave said, who runs the tournament with his brother, Tim. “But, we’re all having fun and it’s a good time.
Ten teams were turned away again this year after the first 40 slots finally closed June 5. As for the name of the tournament, Poorman is for anyone, big boat or not.
“You can be on the shore fishing. You can be in your $50,000 boat. You can be in a canoe. It really is a tournament for everybody,” Allen said.
About 25 of the teams competed via boat or pontoon during this year’s tournament. Dave’s half of the winning effort was on land, while Tyson operated from a boat.
It remains the longest running tournament on Lake Mitchell. Allen said teams now come from each end of the state to participate in what has become a fun annual tradition on the second weekend in June.
The Allens have owned the tournament in the first 26 years but were defeated last year by the pair of Ray Dean and Aarron Willis, of Mitchell. Before last year, a pair of Allens had not lost since 1989.
Of course, not everyone is gunning for the title. Joe Franks and Larry Hettinger were perched in a cove, enjoying some brats and beverages for a lunch break. From Mitchell, this is only their second year in the tournament. They don’t call themselves avid fisherman, making it out onto Lake Mitchell maybe twice a year, even though both live near the lake.
“We’ve always talked about doing it and never got in the tournament in time. This year, we made sure to get our entry in early,” Franks said.
Referring to the Allens, Franks said they’ve been close to winning once, quipping that they “only missed first place by 30 pounds.” His fishing teammate said the event is a worthwhile experience.
“Good people out here and it’s a fun time,” Hettinger said.
The Allens’ dominance doesn’t bother Joe Geppert and Ben Brown either. Geppert was in the tournament for the fourth year and Brown was a first-timer, with both from Mitchell.
“They’re good sports and it gives you something to shoot for in a way,” Geppert said.
The pair said they would likely fall in the middle of the pack when the results were announced and sure enough, their 8.60 pounds of fish put them near the bottom.
“It’s a lot of fun. You see the same people out here every year and everybody is just enjoying themselves fishing. We like to catch the bluegills,” Geppert said.
The tournament, which ran from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m., saw various weather changes, with the temperature diving into the 60s later in the day and a switch in the wind from the southeast to the northwest during the mid-morning. The wind averaged 13 miles per hour, making it tougher on fishermen in open water, according to Allen.
Weather didn’t disrupt the work of Zach and Alex Dagen. When the final tally was posted on the leaderboard at the end of the day, the pair of Mitchell brothers finished second with 35.60 pounds. Second place isn’t bad for being among the youngest in the field at 18 and 17 years old, respectively.
However, the pair was held back by one thing Sunday afternoon: misfortune. The pair was boatless because Zach clipped the boat’s engine while driving down the road a few weeks ago.
“That made it a little tougher,” he said. “We did alright though.”
Allen was gracious in the end, another year in the books.
“I’m glad everybody was enjoying themselves. The people are what make this popular,” he said.