2022 Muransky Companies Bass Classic
2022 Muransky Companies Bass Classic
Casting for cash aids Mahoning Valley’s families
By Jack Wollitz
Submitted June 7, 2022
After 22 years of helping organize a community fund-raiser, you’d think you would have seen it all. But the truth is, after 22 years, we have only just scratched the surface.
It was my great good fortune to have been asked back in January 2000 whether it was feasible to stage a pro-style bass tournament to raise money for the agencies that rely on funding provided by the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.
Little did I know that when I assured the UW brass that indeed it was feasible, our bass tournament would take off and grow to be a must-fish event on many anglers’ schedules and generate nearly $600,000 to invest in services to children and families throughout the Youngstown area.
I think it’s safe to say “casting for cash” really can pay off.
Truth is, it pays off in ways many people would hardly notice. Over the past 22 years, our event has been enjoyed by several hundred anglers who have logged 35,000 hours of fishing and more than 1 million casts for our neighbors and friends.
Over the past 22 years, strangers have become buddies. Friendships forged in competition on the waters of Aqua Ohio’s Evans and Pine lakes are as strong as the steel that made the Mahoning Valley pivotal in winning World War II, building America’s skyscrapers and superhighways, forging and stamping automobile components, and drilling for the oil and natural gas under our feet.
The past two decades have served not only to raise money and create friendships but also to make more people aware of the often-invisible needs in their community and how simple acts of selflessness can go a long way to make people happier or more secure.
Since 2000, anglers have shared their knowledge and coached their partners to become better and smarter about fishing.
This year, as in years past, the field of competitors on Evans and Pine lakes also have enjoyed great hospitality thanks to pre-tournament mixer host Birdfish Brewery and delicious food from Roxbury Pizza.
For the past decade, The Muransky Companies has generously stepped forward to serve as title sponsor for the Bass Classic. Ed Muransky is an avid angler himself and graciously said yes when asked to support the tournament on Pine and Evans, which provides a spectacular vista for members and guests at one of Ed’s great businesses, The Lake Club.
Great value also is provided by outdoors retailers Fisherman’s Central and Fin Feather Fur Outfitters. We also have been honored to have the participation of the United Way’s volunteer Union Counselors, led by Billy Keel. They handle many important game-day jobs with smiles on their faces.
The Bass Classic has produced great champions and record-smashing performances.
Just when we thought the fishing on Aqua Ohio’s lakes couldn’t get better, the 2022 tournament on Pine was won by Ray Halter and Al Hustosky with a record 24.3-pound five-bass limit, while Scott Cremeans shattered the single-fish record with his 7.68-pound largemouth. On Evans Lake, Mike Gondel and Mike Mills bagged 19.02 pounds to win.
Casting for cash has never been better in the Mahoning Valley—on the water and in the community—and everyone is looking forward to the next Muransky Companies Bass Classic on June 3, 2023, on Evans and Pine Lakes.
Who will win and how much weight will be scored? As we have learned over the years those are just two of the reasons to anticipate a great Bass Classic. We’ll also be banking on big bucks for social services, fresh new experiences, and a boatload of fun and friendship.
Jack Wollitz has been tournament director of the Bass Classic since the inaugural event in 2000. His new book, The Common Angler: A Celebration of Fishing, explains the “why” behind the passion anglers have for fishing. To order a signed copy, visit www.fayettevillemafiapress.com.