Fishing tournament raises thousands for Shrine Club - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

Fishing tournament raises thousands for Shrine Club

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WILLIAMSON COUNTY (WSIL) -- Hundreds of fisherman gathered at Crab Orchard Lake to compete in the longest-running fishing tournament in Illinois.

For 52 years, the Harkins-Sanders Fishing Tournament has taken over the lake one weekend each April. This year, Mike Tompkins, the tournament chairman said teams competed against each other and mother nature. 

"It's been a pretty cold, hard day on the guys. We've had guys come in with trolling motors dead, it's just, this wind is worse than the rain and the temperature. It's the wind that's hard fishing," said Tompkins. 

Despite the dreary weather, teams were catching big fish - just fewer of them. Tompkins says even so, money was raised for the Shriner's Children's Hospital. Twenty-five percent of the entry fee for each fisherman goes to the Williamson County Shrine Club. 

While the tournament has always been catch and release, some things brought in don't go back. 

"I remember a boot and then there's been various articles of clothing," said Tompkins. 

Officials with the Williamson County Shrine Club say they are thankful fisherman come out each year to help support the organization and their mission. 

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