Charity fishing tourney to benefit Valley children

By Omar E. Zapata

Staff Writer

The 11th annual Battle on the Bay, hosted by Friends for Hope, will take place Saturday, June 11, at Louie’s Backyard on South Padre Island.

Benefitting the Vannie E. Cook Jr. Children’s Cancer & Hematology Clinic in McAllen, the annual tournament is returning for its 11th time.

“In essence, you know, Friends for Hope is a nonprofit organization with our main objective is to raise funds for the local children’s cancer clinic called Vannie E. Cook,” Friends for Hope President Beto Manrique said. “This money from the [fishing] tournament does not leave the Valley. It doesn’t go to like St. Jude’s or anything else. It’s exclusively for our kids and needs in our region.”

The fishing tournament, which was established in 2004, will start Friday with registration from 6 to 8 p.m. and a captain’s meeting at 7:30.

To register for the tournament, contestants can show up at Louie’s Backyard at 2305 Laguna Boulevard during registration hours on Friday or can register online at Participants still must show up on Friday to receive gear and flags for the competition. A boat entry is $500 and includes one captain and 4 anglers per boat.

“That’s when they get their gear and their flags and also, you know, we read the rules for the captains,” Manrique said. “There is cash prizes in this fishing tournament. We’ve been blessed in the past that some of the people that won, they actually donated the money back so we’re so grateful to our community for going above and beyond.”

The three categories for cash prizes are redfish, trout and flounder. In each of the categories first place is $600, second place is $400 and third place is $200. A total of $3,600 in cash prizes.

Fishing hours for Tournament contestants start at 6 a.m. Saturday and end at 4p.m. with weigh-in from 2 to 4 p.m.

Awards and Dinner will start at 5 p.m.

“It’s exciting,” he said. “You know, there’s a lot of repeat fishermen and anglers. There’s a lot of local people that participate. We have people coming in from other coastal areas here in Texas.”

Asked what his favorite memory from Battle on The Bay has been, Manrique said that before the COVID-19 pandemic, patients were able to come and join some of the board members that were fishing on their boats.

“They would invite some of the patient’s families to come over and join as well,” he said. “At the end I think that the generosity of our sponsors and our community, the response to the tournament is what is most fulfilling. Knowing that every dollar that we raised you know, fulfills a great purpose. You know, and it’s for our local kids and local community.”