PARKERSBURG, W.Va. — Musky anglers will hit the water in West Virginia this weekend in hopes of catching a big one, but it will be a pause to remember one who made the ultimate sacrifice. Saturday and Sunday will be the resumption of the Trooper Eric M. Workman Memorial Musky Tournament in West Virginia.
“Eric was a friend of mine and it’s nice that we’re still able to hold the tournament in his honor,” said Bubba Holt Regional Coordinator for Project Healing Waters.
Workman was a State Trooper killed in the line of duty more than a decade ago. He was also an avid outdoorsman who had a deep passion for musky fishing. Following his death, his family formed the Trooper Eric Workman Foundation to keep his memory alive. The Foundation has been active in providing thousands of dollars in donations toward musky research, youth sports, and improving the lives of law enforcement. His family wanted to use his passion and memory to help advance causes which meant a lot to him. Part of the memorial was the annual Trooper Eric Workman Musky Tournament, which was last held in 2019.
“His family announced at the 2019 Musky Expo in Clendenin that would be the last one the foundation would hold. They passed it along to us and I’m really thankful we’ll be able to keep it going,” Holt explained.
The tournament will now be a fundraiser for Project Healing Waters, which also fits into what Eric would have supported. Project Healing Waters uses fly fishing to help military veterans struggling with PTSD and other combat wounds to find a way to integrate back into their lives and find peace shattered by their time in the service.
The tournament was cancelled in 2020 due to Covid 19. Project Healing Waters continues to be limited in the activities they can do with regard to Covid, but the Workman Tourney will be mostly handled through the Tourney-X App. online.
“It’s open on every waterway in West Virginia. You upload your photos on the app and we get the photos through the app and that’s how we determine a winner,” Holt explained.
The Tourney-X App is a popular way to hold virtual tournaments and has been used extensively by the West Virginia Kayak Anglers to conduct their tournament activities. The entry fee of $55 can be paid within the app with registration. The night before the tournament a computer generated code will be released and emailed to all participants. The code needs to be included with all uploaded fish photos to qualify.
It’s quite a departure for Project Healing Waters which is a fly fishing organization.
“We teach the sport to our participants. Unlike other groups where we do an outing here or an outing there, we meet regularly. We’re using the tournament not only as a fundraiser, but to give our participants a chance to do something they probably have never done before and that’s fish for musky on a fly rod,” he explained.
According to Holt many of those who participate in their project Healing Waters events will be coming into West Virginia from several states to be part of the event.