Local fishing tournament splashes back after oil spill

HARRISON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The BP Oil Spill was a setback for many homeowners and businesses on the Coast but it also hit many fundraiser's as well.

One in particular was the Carl Leggett Fishing tournament which suffered massive drops in participation and funding. Just a year later organizers are using that setback as motivation to make the event bigger and better.

As fishermen readied ice bins for the day's big catch, anticipation was building for yet another coastal event that survived the BP Oil Spill.

Last year the event saw a significant reduction in participants, restrictions in the waters of the Gulf and even fewer prizes. That's why the level of excitement is so high this time around.

"We're probably at that 500 mark for fisherman that we have and that's one of the biggest year's that we've had so I think people were really excited to get back and get back on the water and cast their lines again this year since they didn't get to do it last year," said Jerin Howard, of the Gulf Coast Home Builders Association.

The fishing tournament's Weigh Master, Randall Broussard, echoed similar thoughts about the comparisons of the event this year, to last year.

"We didn't have as many participants. We were lucky enough the last day to get some waters open, but this year people coming out to fish has just been unbelievable. Even the catches. The catches are up," said Broussard.

In it's seventeenth year, event coordinators said this year's tournament, which is put on by the home Builder's association, has been one of the best they've had to date.

"It started out as just a small picnic for our members and it's just grown into this Coast wide experience that people just love to get involved with," said Howard.

One of those groups that chose to get involved is Tisket-a-Tasket. A business that recently relocated to the Coast.

"We've always heard about each year. About how good the tournament does and where the money goes and what we're doing is, every t-shirt that we sell, we're donating some of our proceeds to the Carl Leggett Fund," said an official with Tisket-a-Tasket.

The homebuilders association makes buying affordable housing possible to people throughout the Coast.

With all the momentum and support at this years event organizers said they will continue doing just that.

Copyright 2011 WLOX. All rights reserved.