Sports News

Social media helps find fans after MLF tournament


Zach Birge is a professional bass fisherman who recently competed in the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour – Santee Cooper. This Stage Two tournament was held at John Land Landing in Clarendon County.

These tournaments draw large crowds and the weekend of February 24 th  was no exception. 

Rachel Peters and her six children were among the spectators at last month’s event. Peters and her family live in Pennsylvania but visit Lake Marion several times a year to see their extended family. During a recent visit, she decided to look online for area events while they were in town and was thrilled to see the MLF tournament was at the lake. “The boys love fishing, so we went to check it out,” Peters explained.

It wasn’t until Birge’s wife was scrolling through pictures of the tournament on the MLF website that the two families would connect.

“She came across [a photo] of the two boys with my jersey on. She sent it to me and I immediately had flashbacks of me as a kid,” Birge recalled. He remembered what it was like to be a kid and look up to the pros. “I always had my angling heroes as a kid and still do to this day.”

The Peters family spent the entire day fishing, enjoying the weigh-in and entered the raffle. Her boys’ winning raffle ticket was one of the last ones called. “They are now Zach Birge and MLF fans for life,” Peters said excitedly. The boys won lures from MLF and the photo that caught Birge’s attention was taken.

“I thought if we could post on social media and find these two young kids, we could send them a little something that hopefully puts the biggest smile on their faces,” Birge decided. Having a fairly significant social media presence, with over 56,000 followers on Facebook, Birge shared the boys’ photo with the request to help find the boys so he could offer them a gift.

That photo was shared over 500 times, including on the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce and by several local residents. Finally, Peters saw the post and was overjoyed by Birge’s generosity.

“The boys were so excited to be ‘famous’ when I showed them Zach’s post!” Peters’ children have been fishing since “they were old enough to hold a pole” and she shared Birge’s sentiment on the importance and fun of teaching children to fish.

“One thing I always say is take a kid fishing. Get them outdoors. Start them young,” emphasized Birge.

It’s safe to say the Peters boys have a new mentor themselves and will be watching Birge’s career carefully going forward. Or, they just might end up professional fisherman themselves. Half serious, half joking, Peters said, “Now we just need a fishing boat for the boys to get started on their fishing career.”