How one man’s love of fishing turned into a major tournament
What Patrick Doyle started in 2003 as a fundraiser for a political campaign has since become a staple fishing event for the Texas City angler community.
Each June, hundreds of people turn out for the Patrick F. Doyle Saltwater Invitational Fishing Tournament, which has raised more than $1.1 million for local charities, while also providing proceeds to the Crohn’s & Colitis Foundation. Doyle’s eldest daughter, Allie, has Crohn’s disease.
“I wasn’t really a big fan of asking people for donations for running for office, so we converted it solely for charitable purposes,” said Doyle, a former county commissioner whose family has produced two Texas City mayors and is known for public service. “There’s an awareness factor, if that makes sense. We bring people together from all over the state to come together and have a good time and raise money for a cause that needs awareness.”
Doyle’s love for fishing began at an early age when his grandfather introduced him to the sport, he said.
“When I was a little kid, my grandfather on my mother’s side always took us fishing,” he said. “It never stopped. He was a cool dude.”
The tournament’s long-lasting popularity in the community is largely because it’s just a different kind of event for residents, tournament member Carolyn Sunseri said.
“They still want us to continue the tournament,” she said. “And with word of mouth, it’s spread. People enjoy doing it.”
Doyle made a conscious effort to start a tournament that was different, he said.
“When people are trying to raise money, it’s more geared toward dinner or golfing events and I think we are one of the few that go on the water,” Doyle said. “It gives people the opportunity to take a day off work.”
About 57 teams sign up for the tournament each year, and each team pays about $1,100 to participate.
“It’s not cheap to go out fishing in the bay,” Doyle said. “But that’s what’s so unique about it.”
This year, Doyle is giving a portion of the proceeds to the Santa Fe Education Foundation, he said.
On May 18, a student shot and killed 10 people and wounded a dozen more at Santa Fe high School, leaving a community shocked and grieving.
“It will be designated to establish a fund to create a memorial for the students, teachers and first responders that were either killed or injured on that tragic day,” Doyle said.
The community’s enthusiasm for the tournament keeps it alive, and he’s grateful that people continue to participate to help out charities, Doyle said.
“You can’t do it unless you have the people, so their appreciation showed me these folks really enjoy it,” he said. “They don’t mind spending some money for charity. It’s also bringing together the different segments of the state together.”