Chick Fight 2019 – A Catfish Tournament for the Ladies
Wheeler Lake in Alabama will host the first Chick Fight.
Chick Fight is a catfish tournament for lady catfish anglers. As the sport of catfishing grows, so grows the number of women participating. This tournament will give women catfish anglers a platform to demonstrate their skills and enjoy the competition and camaraderie of tournament fishing. The excitement among lady anglers is growing as more plans for the tournament are revealed.
This first of its kind ladies’ tournament is the creation of Melinda Folsom. It was developed through her associations, observations, and discussions with other cat women at tournaments and other catfish related events.
“This is my first tournament to direct,” reported Folsom. “I have taken ideas from my experiences as a tournament angler and used them to create an event for the ladies of catfishing.”
Folsom says she has bounced ideas off of other people during the planning process to include as many good ideas as she can. The process also gave her feedback on her own ideas.
“My husband Bryan gets more than most,” said Folsom. “Ann White, my co-director, also gets messages daily from me regarding the tournament. Ann in return, tosses ideas around to her husband, Eddie White, and then sends them back to me.”
Melinda and Ann are participating in the tournament. On tournament day they will be strictly participants. Official duties will be tended to by volunteers. Bryan Folsom will be orchestrating the tournament on land and Eddie White will be Master of Ceremonies at the weigh-in. A third volunteer, Jody Harrison, will add his tournament experience to the committee. Harrison is also providing his tournament scales and weigh-in system to the effort.
“The tournament will be conducted by the rules committee,” said Folsom. “They will ensure that no rules are broken, make decisions on tiebreakers, and handle any complaints.”
Focused planning and aggressive outreach have resulted in more than 45 sponsors for the April 6, 2019 event. Several sponsors have added cash bonuses to the payout schedule for the highest placing teams using their products during the tournament. A list of those bonuses can be found on the Chick Fight Facebook page.
Choosing Wheeler Lake in Alabama as the location for the first Chick Fight just seemed to be the natural thing to do as planning developed.
“Every time I go to an out of town tournament, I meet people from other states,” explained Melinda. “We get to talking about where we fish back at home. Once Bryan and I tell them that the trail we follow is based on Lake Wheeler they always say it’s on their catfishing bucket list.”
“Everyone wants to catch a fish of a lifetime,” continued Folsom. “Wheeler is a place where that’s possible just by putting bait in the water.”
The Third Person Rule
There is one option in the tournament rules that allow a man on the boat. Melinda had a lot of questions about this rule and wants to be sure people understand how it works. It is intended to give more women the opportunity to participate.
“The Third Person Rule allows for a man to be on the boat,” explained Melinda. “If there is a man on the boat his only purpose is to act as a chauffeur to the team. He cannot fish, touch tackle, help net, touch fish or offer guidance or advice.”
The third person rule also provides a driver for the weigh-in which will speed things up and be better for the fish.
Long Term Goals
Melinda and her cohorts are wading into uncharted waters. Observing how the sport of catfishing responds to it will help determine the future of the event.
“I have heard that there is an all ladies trail out there somewhere, but I can’t find it. I know a few small trails do tournaments where the lady is the captain for fruit jar events. But I have not found anything like what I’m planning for the Chick Fight.”
“Catfishing is not just a sport for men anymore,” said Folsom. “I hope this event can reoccur every year and grow with each new year.”
“Chick Fight has exceeded my expectations in its inaugural year,” concluded Folsom. “Ann and I want to thank every company, person and participant who has contributed to the event. We plan for Chick Fight to be an annual event that will be moved around to different locations to make it regionally accessible to all lady anglers. I hope to announce 2020’s location and date soon!”
As of March 3rd, 40 teams have registered. Chick Fight is scheduled for Saturday, April 6, 2019. It will launch out of First Creek Boat Ramp, Joe Wheeler State Park, Lake Wheeler, Rogersville Alabama. Tournament time is 7 am until 3 pm.
Tournament Shirts will be on sale March 15th. The link will be posted on the Facebook page and website.
Registration forms and entry can be found on our website at www.chick-fight.com. Registration is open until Friday night at the Captain’s Meeting on April 5th that will be held in the Cafeteria of Lauderdale County High School at 5 pm.