The P.O.I.N.T. Drum Tournament for Challenged Fishermen

By Chad Waligura ~

Sometimes just getting out there is the most important thing. I believe that’s a motto I’ve seen before somewhere around here, and it’s one of the main reasons I like to go down to the P.O.I.N.T. Drum Tournament in Galveston, Tx., every spring. (Contact David Gaston of the Gulf Coast Chapter for more info http://www.turningpointnation.org)

First of all, it’s held in April when there’s not much else going on. Second of all, it’s a big event put on by a lot of good people, some of which have become close friends of mine. I also like to get out there and meet other challenged-sportsmen and see how they fish. Everybody has a little different disability and may have created some adaptive equipment I’ve never seen before, and some people might benefit from the things I know about.

To preface, I usually don’t go on this trip unless it’s going to be a beautiful weekend on the island. I live a short 2 hours away and can pick up and go at the last minute. I’ll have friends & family meet me down there and we’ll make a weekend trip around the whole event. Well this particular year, the weather forecast called for storms coming off the gulf, but we were already booked and determined to make a good time of it no matter what happened. Besides, I’d made promises to my fishing guide friends that I’d come go with them. The trip was on!

Friday afternoon was their “meet & greet” time for all the guides and participants to get registered, eat dinner, usually boiled shrimp, and buy raffle tickets before the auctions start. I spent my time catching up with my friends Christine & Kevin, who’d be taking me on their boat the next morning, before leaving to go to a little local restaurant that serves good blue crab.

black drumEarly the next morning, we woke up to cloudy & breezy skies, but the rain had passed and was supposed to hold off for most of the day. A lot of people didn’t show up because of the forecast, but they missed a great time. Before daylight, I met Christine & Kevin at their house on Tiki Island where they were getting the boat ready to launch. Two of their friends, Matt & Bubba, were there too. They were coming along to help. Apparently, they were serious about winning this thing, which was fine by me. This was my 6th or 7th time fishing in this tournament and I’d never even placed before.

In April every year, in the deep bays surrounding the Galveston yacht basin, black drum gather to spawn. This causes the bigger fish to congregate in specific locations where they come together to breed, and also why the tournament is held this time of season. It’s the best time to catch fish.

P.O.I.N.T usually hosts about 100 fishermen and they have volunteer guides for every one of them. They want everybody to have a good chance to catch because for some it’s their only opportunity to get out on the water.

Well this year that wasn’t going to happen. With the recent rains combined with Saturday’s wind, the currents in the basin were rippin’. Fishing was going to be tough. We were one of the lucky few boats that had an extra-long anchor rope, which was good because most people were having trouble staying anchored to the bottom over one of the best spots to fish.group

The tourney began at 8 a.m. and ran until 2 p.m., and we spent the whole day in one place. The fishing wasn’t super-hot, but we stuck to it and hauled in about 14 big fish throughout the day. Slow and steady was fine with me. It wasn’t easy reeling in 40lb drum in swift currents. I needed all the help I could get.

At the end of the day I placed the 3rd largest fish, but it didn’t count since we were about to win the whole tournament with 14 black drum! Thanks guys, and girl, for all your hard work. I can’t wait for next year.