MILWAUKEE — St. Thomas More High School is trying a unique way to raise money for its Legacy Scholarship by offering an open bass fishing tournament at Pewaukee Lake on June 2.
Assistant principal Joe Heinecke, an avid fisherman, said he was talking with colleagues about fishing when they came up with the idea of the tournament to raise funds for the scholarship.
“It was something that we hadn’t really heard any school doing, something unique, something that fit our passion,” Heinecke said. “This is just something that we do because we love fishing and we want to help out the school.”
The entry fee is $100 for adults, $50 for children under age 18. The fee covers lunch at the Sports Dock, the boat launch and a tournament T-shirt. First prize is a $500 gift card to Bass Pro Shop given to the boat with the heaviest combined weight of fish caught, up to six fish.
Heinecke added there will be prizes every hour for the largest fish.
“If you bring in the biggest fish between 8 and 9 a.m. you’ll win that hour’s prize,” Heinecke said. “We have a nice $100 net … we’re working on getting a couple nice fishing polls or a trolling motor. We’re trying to line up some hourly prizes that are worth $100.”
Check-in is at 5 a.m. at The Sports Dock bar and restaurant, and the tournament goes from 6 a.m. to noon. Lunch, weigh-ins and a raffle will follow.
Heinecke said participants must supply their own equipment and have access to a boat and adhere to the Wisconsin fishing regulations imposed by the Department of Natural Resources. Participants must have a valid State of Wisconsin fishing license.
Deadline for registration is May 9, but Heinecke said it’s a “soft” deadline and he anticipates registering people after the date.
If you want to go:
St. Thomas More Legacy Fishing Classic, Saturday, June 2, Pewaukee Lake. Launch, weigh-in, lunch, awards at The Sports Dock, on the east side of Pewaukee Lake, W278N2345 Prospect Ave., Pewaukee. For information or to register: (414) 481-8370, ext. 113 or email@example.com or www.tmore.org/index.php?id=330.
“I think we have a lot of people around here that like to fish,” Heinecke said. “It’s amazing how, when you start something like this, that everyone says, ‘I like to fish. I’d like to get involved.’”
One of those people was alumnus Chris Kempowski (class of 1995), physical education teacher at Riverside High School and member of St. Paul Parish, Milwaukee, who considers himself a “diehard” fisherman who wanted to help his alma mater.
Kempowski said he was looking at the school’s website when he first heard about the event. Having fished in many tournaments before, he contacted the school.
“It’s been a learning experience,” he said, adding he’s never helped organize a tournament before.
Kempowski said fishing has a different type of game plan compared to other tournament sports.
“For me, it’s exciting when you know, ‘I only got two hours left and I still have to catch three more fish,’ and you figure out how to catch them,” he said. “There’s not a secret out there that ‘this’ is going to get you the big fish every time. It’s fishing, so sometimes you get them, sometimes you don’t.”
Kempowski said he’s participated in fishing tournaments on Pewaukee Lake and believes it’s a good spot for the event.
“It is a good fishery. There (are) a lot of big bass in there, both large mouth and small mouth,” he said. “The opportunity for someone to bring in some big fish is out there.”
Kempowski said he expects between 30-40 people to participate but they’re prepared to serve as many as 100.
“It’s just a chance to hang out and talk,” he said. “Hopefully, it’s a strong contingency of alumni who get back together and talk about the good ol’ days and share that common interest of fishing and try to do something good for the school.”
Michael Schroeder, member of St. Matthew Parish, Oak Creek, an event volunteer and parent of a student, said the event will bring community together.
“Students, parents, teachers and supporters could all participate at whatever level they are at in a fun fishing event,” Schroeder said. “(It) might expose the sport to some students especially that may never have had the chance to fish in a tournament or in an inland lake in Wisconsin. All for a good cause.”
The event is one of two events to support the Legacy Scholarship and, according to Saint Thomas More High School’s website www.tmore.org, the success of the events affect how many scholarships are given.
The scholarship is offered to qualifying students who are the sons and daughters of alumni of Saint Thomas More High School, Pio Nono High School, Don Bosco High School, St. Francis Minor Seminary, Thomas More High School and Saint Mary’s Academy.