Catch some cash at a croaker tournament

Rappahannock event awards prizes for biggest finds.

Photo courtesy of the William Reavis Croaker Tournament.
Photo courtesy of the Andrew Reavis Croaker Tournament.

Being a big fish in a little pond can lend you confidence, but catching a big fish in a little pond can land you $1,500.

On Saturday, May 20, the Tappahannock Rotary Club will host the 14th annual Andrew Reavis Memorial Croaker Tournament, named for the late Virginia Military Institute cadet and son of a Rotary Club member. The event, which requires a $150 registration, serves as a fundraiser for the club’s charitable work and is held at Garrett’s Marina in Center Cross, awarding anglers with the biggest catches $4,500 in total prize money.

Croakers can grow to 2 or 3 pounds and tend to populate the Rappahannock in the warm summer months, says Jay Brimmer, tournament chairman and a member of the Rotary Club. Participating anglers often keep their fish on ice during the day or give them to community members, but a few nearby restaurants also offer to clean and cook the fish.  

Registrants, including locals and out-of-staters, have from 7 a.m. until about 4 p.m. to catch the biggest croaker they can find with a rod and reel. Prizes range from $100 to $1,500 and are awarded to competitors in both youth and adult categories. Profits from the tournament benefit a number of local causes.

“It is disbursed throughout the community. It could be for the battered women’s shelter; it could be money that’s donated to the schools, to the libraries, to the Tappahannock clinic,” Brimmer says. “We may help somebody in need, or we’ll help sponsor a child.”

The tournament welcomes spectators, serving free hot dogs, hamburgers and soda, and hosts an art competition among local students for the design of the tournament T-shirt.