FRANKFORT — Some big changes and a new, yet old, date are coming to the Benzie Frenzie Fishing Tournament.
One, you’ll notice the spelling of frenzy is changed in a rebranding move by new director Steveo Joslin.
Coming up on its 19th year, the tournament is also set to return to the fourth weekend of August in order to separate it from the Ludington tournament that witnessed last year’s event decline in entries before it was canceled because of poor weather.
“The last four or five years, the tournament has slowly declined in participating numbers,” said Joslin, who also runs the Grand Traverse Salmon Classic in Traverse City each Labor Day weekend.
Joslin said the tournament used to draw around 140 teams in three categories — professional, amateur and women’s — but dwindled to less than 10 pro teams and fewer than 10 women’s boats.
“A lot of that had to do with moving the tournament,” Joslin said. “We just have to get good weather.”
Joslin plans to trim expenses and offer a larger share of entry fees for the prize pool of the event at Mineral Springs Park in downtown Frankfort, which has hosted the tournament since it started 19 years ago. He’s also changed the 10-fish limit for amateurs to five (including a maximum of two lake trout).
“I think the 10-fish number scared away a lot of the weekend fishermen,” said Joslin, who used to fish in the tournament in the early 2000s.
Last year’s event was moved up to late July and ran into poor weather conditions that led to its cancellation altogether and reduced entries as the Ludington tournament lasted until just a few days before it.
Moving the date back to the fourth week of August puts it back in its usual spot, and because August has five weekends next year, gives an extra week in between the Salmon Classic instead of the two running on back-to-back weekends. The Salmon Classic enters its eighth year in 2020.
Returning for 2020 is the Lake Michigan Tournament Trail and its 333 Championship Series.
The ladies division is slated for Aug. 21, 2020, with the pro and amateur divisions competing Aug. 22-23, 2020.
“I’m really excited about it,” Joslin said. “I think it’s going to be a big deal. We have some great volunteers who are going to be helping out.”
For more information, visit www.Fish-Benzie.com, or call Joslin at 231-633-6775 or Joanne Bartley at the Frankfort Elberta Chamber of Commerce at 231-352-7251.