The seasonal flow of waters into the picturesque marshes along the Ogeechee River and the subtle temperature changes mark the arrival of different species of fish near The Ford Plantation throughout the year. This cyclic pattern of an ever-changing aquatic landscape means one can fish for flounder, tripletail or tarpon one day and largemouth bass or crappie the next.
You’re likely to see an uptick in member sightings, fishing poles in hand, at Ogeechee Outfitters and the marina beginning in May with the start of the annual Ford Fishing Fin-Atic Tournament. Nothing encapsulates The Ford Plantation reputation as a fisher’s paradise more succinctly than this competition. The six-month-long tournament capitalizes on The Ford Plantation fishing sweet spot by challenging participants to catch 16 different fish species—including both freshwater and saltwater species—during the tournament’s run. The winner is the first person to catch all 16 different fish; barring that feat, the person scoring the most points is declared the de facto winner.
Each year residents are invited to participate in the friendly Fin-Atic competition. Participants for the 2018 event include both men and women ranging in age from nine to 68. The competition is fierce but friendly, and the bond between participants is evident with the sharing of strategy and tips among competitors.
Mike Womble, Director of Outdoor Pursuits, and his staff are busy throughout the tournament taking participants out on the boat and offering guidance for catching the next fish on the list. The staff also does their best to keep mum and dodge questions when folks stop by Ogeechee Outfitters to inquire about which angler and fellow Ford resident is leading the pack. When asked
if the excitement remains throughout the entire six months Mike Womble quickly responded, “Yes, a few [people] were in
here game-planning this morning. There is never a dull moment.”
Fun-loving antics aside, the uniqueness and breadth of the tournament is certainly notable. The Ford Plantation Outdoor Pursuits staff takes advantage of the property’s geographic location to create a tournament that incorporates multiple, seasonal species including fresh, brackish, and saltwater. The duration of the contest allows time for participants to develop
a strategy for each type of fish and the time to patiently execute.
Despite strategy, however, some of the fish are more elusive than others, like the tarpon, which is considered one of the top three saltwater game fish.
But at the end of the day, The Fin-Atic Tournament is so much more than a competition for those who get hooked. The tournament, like so many other happenings at The Ford Plantation, creates a sense of community and lasting memories that can only be described as part of the Ford spirit.