This annual charity fishing tournament began with Manistee County charter Captain Bob Guenthardt. Bob is a former Ogema of the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and a proud Army veteran. His idea and desire to show appreciation to members of the military for their dedication and sacrifice provided the foundation for this unique event. In the fall of 2009, Captain Bob, the Little River Band of Ottawa Indians and the Little River Casino Resort created a “Host Committee”, which later reached out to the Paralyzed Veterans of America, Michigan Chapter and the Brain Injury Association of Michigan and the entire Manistee area community. Captain Bob’s fleet of volunteer fishing boat captains, local organizations such as Little River Band of Ottawa Indians Warrior Society, United Veterans Council, Rolling Thunder Michigan Chapter 1, Michigan National Guard and U.S. Coast Guard, many private businesses, and hundreds of volunteer individuals throughout the state of Michigan joined together and successfully executed this outstanding event.
Now in its 7th year Tight Lines for Troops (a federally recognized nonprofit organization) proudly announces its 7th Annual Charity Fishing Tournament for Michigan Veterans. The event will be held at the Manistee City Marina in Downtown Manistee this year, and will include increased opportunities to interact with the local community, who have consistently honored and supported our veterans and this event in prior years. Seng’s Marina has very graciously hosted this event for the last several years, and is integrally involved in this year’s event in its new location in our beautiful downtown.
The 2016 boat fleet consists of approximately 40 big lake fishing boats, and several boats accustomed to providing a river fishing experience for those who are interested. Again, the host committee will offer a Pier/Shore division for those who wish to fish from the shore. In all, the 2016 Tight Lines Fishing Tournament will deliver a memorable experience for approximately 250 Michigan Veterans, most of whom have not yet had an opportunity to attend and participate in this outstanding event. Those who receive “boarding priority” are WWII and Korean War vets, Purple Heart recipients, veterans disabled, POWs, and then any Veteran of any branch of service, and select active duty service people.
Though the fishing tournament itself is limited to registered participants, the public is invited to join the
“Welcome Back Celebration” as the boats return to the marina, traveling up the river channel to the City Marina. The Riverwalk along the river channel will be lined with patriotic and appreciative fans, waving their flags to cheer and welcome the fishermen back “home”. In expressing his gratitude for the event one previous participant said, “When I came home from duty, we were told not to wear our uniforms. The people were tired of Southeast Asia. Thank you for honoring these great men and women for their service. I was honored to be part of the day.” Another participant shared these feelings: “This is the Welcome Home I never received. After all these years, I cried because I didn’t realize how much it meant to me. I was proud to take part.” Every year we are moved by these same types of comments. Be a part of the Celebration and join us on the Riverwalk for the Flag Welcome!
The success of this program is a result of the collective efforts of over 500 sponsors and volunteers.
Veterans pay no charter fees or entry fees. It is with great pleasure and honor that we all look forward to hosting the 7th Annual Tight Lines for Troops Charity Fishing Tournament for Michigan Veterans on May 21st, 2016.