LIVE WEIGH-IN TOURNAMENT NETS BIG WINNERS
THE HISTORY OF MR AND MRS. "BIG"
(WRITTEN BY DOUG NIZNIK)
It was 1996 the year it all started, sitting around a camp fire wondering what we were going to do now that deer season was about to close. The idea came up to have a bass fishing tournament on a private lake. It was Twenty Teams, bring your own john boat, kayak, or fish off the bank, we called it Mr. Big Bass. Our goal was to have a tournament, but to practice catch and release, while having a blast. Bass tournaments had been doing this for years, they already had set the standards, so it was easy to follow. Mr. Big was a term for a monster buck or giant fish. We held another tournament the next year at the famed Twin Lakes, on the 777 Ranch. There was 20 john boats all ready to go, and a barge from the San Antonio River Walk. When participants caught a fish we would wave a flag and the barge would come over and weigh your fish. We didn’t kill a bass in two years and had a blast.
In 1998 we bought a cabin on a spoil island near Bird Island, and Mr. Big Trout was born. We had fifteen, four man teams with a four trout stringer per team, Lures Only! We had a blast, but we didn’t like seeing dead fish. The next year we had a weigh master at the dock of the cabin from 7:00 am-4:00pm and we had a blast and no dead fish.
By 2004, we had 35 teams and maxed out the cabin, but that wasn’t the reason we had to move inland. A blue northern hit at 9:00 am with 50-60 mph winds, we were very lucky no one was hurt, or killed. It was a conservative day only two fish were weighed in. So Doc’s Restaurant on the Inner Coastal Waterway, was the perfect place to hold a live weigh in, and a little bit safer.
After fishing in the Baffin Bay Bash that year, I knew what I had to do, copy their weigh in, set our standards high and promote a conservative structured live weigh in tournament. We got a 400 gallon fish tank, and the best live weigh master in the state. In addition to get super conservative, we changed our stringer format to the Texas Slam. Three fish per team, to be used as the stringer, and fish pots. We had 42 teams, with just a 13% dead rate for the day. This year’s tournament had 63 teams, with only 13 dead trout, 1 dead red, and 2 dead flounder, but 32 trout, 26 reds, and 16 flounder were released, that’s Big! And we had a blast.
In 2008 with the help from the best sponsors in Texas, we gave away a $ 6,000.00 internship to Texas Parks & Wildlife for a top student at Texas A & M Corpus Christi, studying Marine Biology, and we continued to give one away each year through 2013, Very Big!
After fishing my ladies team in all of the women’s tournaments, we decided to add Mrs. Big and make a day for the Gals. All of the ladies tournaments that we fished didn’t pay out much, and were fish kills, one being a slaughter, so not only did we give away lots of trophy’s, T-shirts, and pay out all there entry fee money back, we also added a second internship for a gal at Texas A & M Corpus Christi. That was a total of 10 internships in eight years, BIG TIME BIG!!
Tournaments are great for the economy, local charities, families in need, our wounded warriors, and to just have fun, there are three to five tournaments on any given weekend, but they can be conservative at the same time.
We are a group of contractors and suppliers from San Antonio TX. that love our Texas Gulf Coast, Mr. & Mrs. Big Trout is a non-profit organization tournament and we want to make a difference for the future generations of tournament fishers.
I have been ask many times, why do you call it Mr. and Mrs. Big? Well I never I never have had the time to tell this long of a story, so in short, we have had great sponsors that are BIG, and a live weigh in that is BIG, pay out BIG money, give away two Texas Parks & Wildlife Internships VERY BIG, all while making a BIG difference, I almost forgot, and having a BIG time.
Director, Mr. & Mrs. “BIG”