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Fishermen have good time at Poco Bueno Tournament

July 17, 2011 at 2:17 a.m.

Poco Bueno coordinator Walter Fondren reaches out to touch a 35.5 pound dolphin fish as it is weighed on Saturday.

PORT O'CONNOR - The Poco Bueno Fishing Tournament is a serious competition, but that doesn't mean it can't be fun.

Despite battling hundreds of anglers to achieve bragging rights and a portion of the significant monetary prize, numerous competitors are simply on the waters having a good time.

Jamie Knight is one such person.

For the past four years, Knight and his long-time friends have taken part in the Poco Bueno Fishing Tournament as a way to enjoy time together.

Sometimes they fare well, like last year when they caught the largest dorado.

Other years are not as successful.

"It was a slow weekend," Knight said of the 42nd annual event held at Port O'Connor this weekend. "We caught every fish we saw, but we only saw three fish."

Although the group did not haul in a prize-winning catch, they pulled in a sailfish, a tuna and a dorado.

Regardless of the size or amount of fish they caught, the experience was memorable nonetheless.

"We're out there because we're buddies, and we like to fish together," Knight said. "And we always have.

"To be able to do this is just a lot of fun, and to be able to do it with your old friends is even more fun."

Joining Knight was boat owner Chad Shimaitis, David Ellison, John Biegel, Kevin Hunter and boat captain Peter Young.

Knight and Shimaitis met while attending the University of Texas more than a decade ago and both still reside in the state's capitol, along with Biegel and Hunter, while Ellison made the trek from Houston to participate in this year's Poco Bueno tournament.

The group began fishing competitively about five years ago, when Shimaitis purchased a large-fishing boat and assembled the group.

According to Knight, as long as there is a passion to participate, the group will continue to travel to Port O'Connor for the fishing and the camaraderie.

"As we get older - we are in our mid 30s now - and people are starting to have kids, it is getting harder and harder to get together," Knight said. "So, it's nice to be able to carve out a weekend to just go and hang out with your buddies.

Not even last year's controversy could deter the group.

Complaints were filed following the conclusion of the 2010 Poco Bueno tournament as some people had suspicions that teams were cheating as they competed for the large cash prize.

But Knight says it did not waiver the friends' plans to attend this year in the least.

"It had no effect [on our decision to participate]," Knight said.

Even if another such conspiracy theory should arise, Knight says he plans on returning to fish with his friends next year.

"For now, we don't have any desire to stop."

They are simply having too much fun.

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