Connor Naughton and his brother Garrett had a good time at the BAI AIM Grass Lake tournament on Saturday.
Ed Devries, president of the Bowfishing Association of Illinois, tells the story nicely:
We just completed our BAI AMS Grass Lake Tournament up on the chain last saturday. While there is some competition in these shoots, most BAI members go mainly for the fun and comradery of bowfishing with your buddies.
At our shoots we usually get together for a pre shoot BS session and then go off and bowfish for a few hours. Come back and see who did the best that day. Then usually a BBQ, more telling lies and a door prize drawing.
The door prizes are donated by mfgrs. and distributors of bowfishing gear. This shoot we name after the AMS Bowfishing Co. out of wisconsin, makers of the only reel specifically designed for bowfishing, the retriever, and a couple bows. AMS gives literally tens of thousands of dollars worth of gear to clubs across the country each year. For our Grass Lake shoot, they give us a complete Fire Eagle bowfishing bow set up with reel and rest. A $475 value.
Now back to our shoot. While signing the folks up around 5am, a van drives up and out jump 17yr old Connor Naughton and his brother Garrett. They needed some help getting their modest plastic boat into the water so we backed the trailer up and got them underway. Connor and Garrett joind the BAI a couple years ago at our booth at the Rosemont show.
The shoot gets underway and I head across the lake to the Fox River and a couple coves over there. Now Im not a big tourney guy, so I stay in one spot, shoot a few and enjoy watching the 6 swans sharing my area and the red wing black birds chasing the sandhill cranes away from their nests. Well along comes the brothers. They managed to cross the lake in their small boat one using a paddle to push the other thru the shallows. Now Im wondering why I bought this $16,000 skiff! Bowfishing was tough, but we each got a few. I was impressed when the young men said they liked it better when the going is tough. Takes more skill to find them and is not boring like when the fish are spawning. Also adding just getting one and being out on the water is enough for them. My thoughts exactly.
Back to the ramp and the food! We counted up the fish, declared the winners and dug in. After eating it was time for prizes. All participants get a ticket for the drawing. We mix them up and pull a winner. It was truely a great moment when Garretts name was the first pulled, and watching the look on his face when he realized he could pick the brand new bowfishing bow set up was about as good a memory many of our members will ever have from a BAI tournament. We got him up on the stage for a pic with AMS representative Matt with the bow.
The biggest carp or the longest gar ever harvested couldnt match that moment. A nice thing to see happen, and a great way for the youngster to start his summer vacation! Here are a couple pics of the guys from the shoot.... BTW.... believe it or not, the other brother was the second name pulled in the drawing and while there was only one bow, Connor got a nice innerloc grappler arrow.