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Growing tournament attracting fun

 

Jessica Tufts holds up Saturday's biggest bass. - Scott Hunter photo

After the first day, Jessica Tufts could boast that she'd outfished her husband, dad and father-in-law in the third annual Triple Fish Challenge on Coulee Playland at Banks Lake.

Jessica caught the biggest smallmouth bass (3.35 pounds) on Saturday, although her husband, Alex, reeled in the best trout on day two (2.51).

The little tournament grew to 28 anglers this year from 18 in 2014 and included five kids. One of them, Payton Phillips, outfished all the adults in terms of total weight caught (11.88 pounds) except Rod Boutain (13.65), but including his dad (11.33).

The tackle won as the stringer prize by Brad Phillips, of Moses Lake, on Saturday was worth about $1,200, and the kids walked away with tackle worth hundreds, according to Lou Nevsimal, organizer of the tournament for the Grand Coulee Dam Area Chamber of Commerce.

Payton Phillips shows his 7.72-pound walleye. - Scott Hunter photo

The challenge is to catch walleye, smallmouth bass and trout on each of the two days of the tourney to win an inflatable boat. The kids aren't eligible for the grand prize (value about $3,000) because of state law restriciting the value of what youth can win.

Nobody won the boat, but several won thousands of dollars in fishing tackle and cash. The prizes are all donated by top quality fishing tackle companies.

As the anglers gathered for winning announcements Sunday, smiles were on every face.

The event is getting a reputation as being very fun, said Peggy Nevsimal, Lou's wife and chamber of commerce executive director.

"Every single person who has fished it has continued to fish it" in each successive year, she noted.

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