Sweetwater Classic – More than a Tournament

The second Sweetwater Classic is set for March 11/12. This fly fishing tournament, put on by the Gulf Coast Council of the Fly Fishers International, is a small but fun tournament. Thanks to my attendance to Gulf Council events over the years, I have met many of the members of other clubs in our council. So for me this event is a great opportunity to hang out with my friends, fish and learn more about fly fishing. And hey, it’s right here in Mississippi!

At the last Classic, along with fishing in the tournament, I took the Fly Casting Skills Challenge, proctored by certified casting instructor Roger Breedlove. Roger graciously led us all the way to the Gold level. It was fun and educational. I would recommend it to fellow fly fishers as it gives either validation of casting skills or direction to areas of casting that may need work.

I always look forward to the silent auctions, my interest being mainly in the flies donated for the auction. Our council has many top fly tiers and the only way to get any of their flies is at one of the events where the tiers have donated their flies.

The One Feather and Iron Fly tying competitions are fun to watch and there is a “Big Sunfish” Tourney the afternoon of the 11th, entry fee only $5. There will be some sponsor exhibits, free casting clinics and product demos on Friday afternoon and Saturday.

Lake Percy Quinn is a beautiful lake and though I didn’t see a great many fish caught, there are definitely some good fish in there and I did manage to catch both a nice bass and a nice crappie in the last tournament. The tournament is a catch-photo-release tournament using the iAngler Tournament Software. For me the idea of having a real-time leaderboard with the ability to see the catches of others is just a fun thing.

This year Lake Mary Crawford has been added as an additional lake that is included in the tournament. I have never fished this lake but from the description of the recently renovated 128 acre lake I may have to opt for LMC for my effort.

At the Friday Captain’s meeting, MDWFP Fisheries biologist Samantha Bergeron will provide information on the two lakes. As Ms. Bergeron is an avid fly fisher, she will be able to give advice on both lakes from a fly fisher’s perspective.

Of course the pandemic started just before the 2020 event, unfortunately playing a big part in reducing participation and causing future tournament date cancellations all the way through 2021. Hopefully the 2022 event will be able to flourish. See you there!

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