Weighmaster training and certification class set for May 18
SOUTH PADRE ISLAND — Fishing tournaments have become so popular in South Texas that one is held almost every weekend during the summer months. With so much at stake, classes and certification are available to make sure event judges, known as weighmasters, know exactly what they’re doing, according to a Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service marine specialist.
The Fishing Tournament Weighmaster Training and Certification will be held from 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. May 18 at the University of Texas Pan American Coastal Studies Lab, 100 Marine Lab Drive, South Padre Island.
“The number of fishing tournaments has increased tremendously over the years because they are such great fundraisers for non-profit organizations,” said Tony Reisinger, the AgriLife Extension agent for coastal and marine resources based in San Benito. “For several years now, to ensure smooth-running tournaments, we’ve partnered with the Tournament Directors Foundation to provide weighmaster training and certification.”
Tournaments usually have one specified weighmaster, often assisted by other certified weighmasters, to measure and judge the fish caught at such events, some of which can attract more than 1,000 participants, he said.
“The Texas International Fishing Tournament at South Padre Island, which is one of the state’s oldest and largest fishing tournaments, attracts some 1,200 entrants,” Reisinger said. “Others, like the Port Mansfield Fishing Tournament, can have 500 people fishing. You can imagine the work it takes to properly weigh, judge and award prizes for all those fish. It has to be done accurately and fairly, because lots of reputations are at stake, including the non-profit organizations’.”
Participants of the training will learn key points in running a fishing tournament, how to identify altered fish, determining fish species, how to determine freshness of fish and how to accurately measure and weigh them, he said.
Course presenters include Richard Moore, weighmaster, Texas International Fishing Tournament weighmaster; Duane Engles, director, Tournament Directors Foundation; Kit Doncaster, weighmaster, Texas International Fishing Tournament and Ladies Kingfish Tournament; Dr. Richard Kline, University of Texas at Brownsville, professor and ichthyologist; Reisinger; and Betty Wells, tournament director, Texas International Fishing Tournament.
Cost of the training is $35, and is limited to 30 participants. To register, call the Coastal Studies Lab at 956-761-2644.