Theyre fishing for a cure
By Kelsey Lauer 8/24/09
Captain Jack Nowland is no stranger to salmon fishing -- after all, hes been doing it since 1985.
But only last year did Nowland, who has been a certified captain for around 15 years, decide to recruit a team of women -- called the Nauti-Girls -- to enter into the annual Big Jon Salmon Classic, held Aug. 28-30 on West Grand Traverse Bay (the womens tournament is on Aug. 28). The team donates their winnings from the tournament to Munson Healthcare for breast cancer research.
This year, our slogan is fishing for a cure, Nowland says. This year, I wanted to again limit it to 30 women, and I have 41 signed up. I expect a few might not show up, but well definitely have a full boat. (We have) team t-shirts; its definitely about the fun.
The unique part? The team will be fishing from the Nauti-Cat, the 47-foot catamaran that Nowland co-owns with his son Chien. Local radio station WKLT 98.9 and 97.5 will be broadcasting from the Nauti-Cat; WCCW 107.5 will be doing a remote broadcast.
Well, whats kind of unusual about what were doing first of all, you dont find too many 47-foot catamarans in a fishing tournament. Its difficult to fish off of a sailboat, Nowland says. Cancer has been a prominent thing in my family and my life, and thats when we came up with the idea of entering the Nauti-Cat into the tournament and seeing if we could raise some money.
Normally, the best way to try out salmon fishing for the first time -- the season here runs through the end of Septemberis to rent a charter boat, according to Nowland. Last years tournament was the first time fishing for many of the team members, some of whom are returning from last year.
If somebody says, I want to go salmon fishing, I would look for a charter boat. Its just not taking a cane pole and throwing it in the water from a riverbank, Nowland says. Find a good charter-boat and a charter boat captain. A half day of fishing for $200 or $400 is a better deal than the tens of thousands of dollars you need to get set up.
Usually three or four people go on a fishing charter; the captain and first mate do the hard part, and all the customer has to do is reel in this fish -- something thats easier said than done.
The captain and a first mate will get all the rods and everything set up, he says. The fish hits, and they hand it to the person, and then they fight the fish all the way in. The first mate will net the fish.
What differs for the Nauti-Girls is that Nowland and his crew will only be able to set the rods; the team members must do the rest themselves, Nowland says.
With the Nauti-Girls, during the tournament, I can get the rods set, but the girls are required to fight the fish, and another girl is required to net the fish. The girls have to do everything except setting the rod.
Nowland says that he fishes from the Nauti-Cat at times other than the tournament, although he more frequently uses his charter boat, Outta Line.
Well, were just a sailing vessel, but this time of year, when the salmon are in, Ill be out there on Sunday. What I do out there, just for fun, is take a couple of rods and if something hits, Ill pick a few people in the crowd to reel the fish in.
THE LARGEST SALMON
Things didnt go quite as smoothly as they could have for the first few minutes last year.
The girls were pretty excited to begin with, and we actually lost our first five fish, Nowland says. We had to have a little come-to-Jesus meeting, and then they landed their next 10 fish.
But the teams dedication paid off, and the team caught the largest salmon of the tournament, weighing in at 21.7 pounds, according to Nowland. As a result, the team won $1,200, which they donated to Munson Medical Center.
It won the mens division and the womens division, he says. Last year, I want to say in the womens division there were 20 plus boats, and then the mens division had 60 to 70 boats.
Its another way to bring awareness to breast cancer, he adds. We get to do this by something that Im passionate about, so much the better.
For more information, visit www.nauti-cat.com or the Grand Traverse Area Sport Fishing Association web site at www.gtasfa.com.