PAGE UPDATED BY MARIA SIEVERDING AUGUST 27, 2015 11 A.M.
No fish story...
Local man reeling in fish and dollars
Fish don’t like Mark Heidt. That’s because he’s good at catching them. Really good. The Versailles fisherman came in third place in the Rayovac FLW (Fishing League Worldwide) series central division on Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas recently. He was in the co-angler category, and lost out on first place by four pounds of fish. He reeled in 11 bass, weighing a total of 24 pounds and 11 ounces. For his efforts he won $3,973. Had he won he would have been bringing home a new Ranger boat and outboard. To qualify for the event, the ‘96 South Ripley graduate had to earn so many points in other tournaments and how many pounds the fish weighed. He has placed three times in the top 10 at tournaments this year.
Pictured left is Mark Heidt of Versailles. He competes in about 20 fishing tournaments a year.
The Rayovac FLW Series consists of five divisions: Central, Northern, Southeast, Texas and Western. At the recent catch and release tournament, some 8,000 pounds of bass were caught. Each division consists of three tournaments and competitors will be vying for valuable points for the series championship. The 2015 Rayovac FLW Series Championship is being held Oct. 29-31 on the Ohio River in Paducah, Kentucky. Heidt said it was the final day of the three day tournament that cost him top prize. He only caught a few fish then; however, because he was in first place of the 147 co-angler competitors, he was paired on the boat with the top angler pro, Jason Lieblong from Arkansas. Lieblong ended up winning the tournament and walked away with $39,000 plus a Ranger boat as well.
The money is nice, but it’s not what compels him to cast a line. Heidt said, “I love fishing. I like it for the scenery, the excitement of hooking a fish and not knowing how big it will be, and the challenge of it.” Between the entrance fees ($500 for the FLW) to equipment, hotel rooms and travel expense it’s hard to break even. Nonetheless, it’s his hobby and admits it would be his “dream job” to do it full-time like say professional fisherman Greg Hackey. From March to October, the 37-year-old is usually in some type of weekend competition. He figures he’s been in 20 tournaments this year. The best fishing in Indiana, from Heidt’s experience, has been Lake Patoka. “But, Brookville Lake (in Franklin County) is also good.” And the best ever? A lake in Alabama was good, and he did like this Lake Dardanelle in Arkansas. The biggest fish he ever caught was six pounds and 10 ounces, “a decent size for Indiana.” The world record is around 25 pounds, he added. A carpenter by day, Heidt said his dad Tom introduced him to fishing some 10 years ago, but he has perfected the sport with help from Gary Byard. He also fishes often with Jeff and Alex Hafft.
At the recent tournament the bait he used from his G Loomis pole was Chatterbait and Crankbait laser wire custom balsa. While fishing can be relaxing, tournaments are not. “By the end of the day (eight hours on the lake) I’m worn out. I guess it’s from the sun, the adrenaline and competition,” Heidt says.
‘Run Jake run’
Former marine runs 3,000 miles (barefoot) for Semper Fi Fund
At first glance, Jake Brown looks like any other long distance runner you often come across on country roads. Except for his shoes. He wears none.
Brown is running barefoot 3,000 miles across the country. He ran to Versailles Monday evening, on US 421 from Madison, and left the next morning for Aurora and Lawrenceburg. His ultimate destination is Manhattan, New York, quite a distance from Huntington Beach, California, where he started March 5. (He was told about Steve Wescott, the man and the goat walking across country who passed by here two weeks ago, and said he may catch up to him!)
An “ ultra marathoner, low-grade professional athlete,” as he calls himself, the barefoot thing happened by chance. He forgot his shoes at a race and ran anyway. With dreadlocks and neon T-shirt, Brown is also somewhat of a modern-day hippie. It’s not so much about the steps he takes but the journey. “If one guy with his life on his back can cross an entire continent, and connect with individuals along the way, then we really are neighbors and what we do here, today, has ripples that are felt around the world.”
He has to look down with each step. Sharp objects and hot pavement are tough on his tootsies, but it also makes him conscious of each step. “I remember each one…what if we live our lives like that? What if we used what we have and slow down and look at how we got there?” It’s living in the present, he adds. While running throughout the country he raises awareness for the Bare Sole Project, his own initiative for a “Global Community and Conscious Lifestyle, “ as he says.
Brown, 28, and a former marine, is also raising money for Semper Fi Fund, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing immediate need resources to wounded veterans and their families. He’s also hooked up to Charity Miles app. “It allows you to raise money by the mile when you walk, run, cycle or engage in any self-propelled activity.” One day it might be to fight hunger, another on bullying.
The people he’s met along the way have convinced him most people are good. He seeks out ways to help others. “It feels so good being part of their lives,”he said. Averaging 20 to 30 miles a day, he was enjoying Southeast Indiana, particularly the pleasant weather, which allowed him to run in the middle of the day versus early morning when it’s not so hot. He shares his story on social media, and hopes others will too. To donate to his run or causes, go online to http://www.thebaresoleproject.com
. He also has a Facebook page, called The Un-run