ST. CLAIR SHORES — Organizers of Monster Quest VIII, a bass fishing tournament that took place June 22 in St. Clair Shores, said the event came off better than they could have imagined.
“Everything was great. I honestly can’t believe the response we got, especially with it being the first time the competition took place in St. Clair Shores,” said Terry Melvin, co-coordinator of the event and Pro fishing staffer at Waterford-based KD Outdoors.
“We had so much help from people in the city, and businesses and other people who helped us put this on. It was unbelievable.”
Melvin and KD Outdoors owner Ken Neeley coordinated the event. Prior to the June 22 bass fishing competition, Melvin had said they were hopeful to have about 75 teams — teams of two people per boat — take part. Eighty-eight teams showed up on a day that began with high humidity and featured temperatures in the high 80s.
Cost to register for the event was $200 per team. The winning team received a $10,000 prize. The competition had taken place in Harrison Township previously. Neeley said the event could draw anywhere from 75 to 100 boats. Prizes were awarded based on the total weight of the five fish brought in by each team.
The event also raised money for the St. Clair Shores Special Needs Summer Program.
Competitors hit the waters of Lake St. Clair from the Chapoton Retention Basin, located at 23001 Jefferson in St. Clair Shores. Competitors began at 6:30 a.m. and docked about 2:30 p.m. June 22.
St. Clair Shores Parks and Recreation Director Greg Esler said the event was great for the city. The competition, according to Melvin, drew bass fishing enthusiasts from Michigan, Ohio, Canada, Indiana, Kentucky, Virginia and Illinois.
“Just looking down Jefferson and seeing the boaters in the restaurants and gas stations, so obviously, economic development is important,” Esler said. “This is a great event. Hopefully, we can piggyback on it next year and include some different things for the residents.”
Melvin said the support he and Neeley received from Esler, as well as other St. Clair Shores officials and business people, was exceptional. He said the city did a tremendous job in hosting the anglers.
“I love competition. I learned a lot of things about fishing because I didn’t know a lot about the sport,” said Esler, who also coaches the varsity boys basketball squad at Warren De La Salle.
“These guys and ladies who bass fish are serious. It’s like going out to scout a basketball team. They’ve been out in the water for a week or so scouting the lake, and testing different lures and testing water levels. This is serious stuff.”
Jason Wilkins and Jason Root came up from Bowling Green, Ohio, to participate in the event. Root said those in the bass fishing tournament circle know where to find the best tournaments, adding that Monster Quest is a bigger tournament for the area.
“You always wanna come up here. It’s a great area and a good time,” Root said. “Lake St. Clair is a phenomenal lake to fish on, too.”
White Lake resident Matthew Malmquist said he takes part in 10-15 different events each year. He said he joined local bass fishing clubs as a 16-year-old and has been fishing competitively for 11 years. Malmquist added Monster Quest VIII is one of the bigger competitions he’s tried his hand in. He said the turnout for the June 22 event was solid — seeing as it was the first time St. Clair Shores hosted the tournament.
“We’re already in the planning stages of trying to bring it back next year,” Melvin said.
Anyone interested in checking out future bass fishing tournaments in the state can check www.michiganbass.net.