Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass Tournament celebrates 35 years of fishing, philanthropy and community support

Annual benefitting Wolfson Children’s C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry Heart Institute returns to Palatka, Fla., May 16-18, 2024.

Jacksonville, Florida – Since the first boats launched in the St. Johns River nearly 35 years ago, the Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass Tournament has grown to welcome more than 1,000 anglers each year. The 35th annual tournament will return to Palatka, Fla., May 16-18, 2024, and while the size of the tournament has changed, the mission behind it remains the same.

Founded by the Plant Facilities Department of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville in 1989 to fund capital improvements and purchase the latest medical technology, the tournament has raised more than $7 million for Wolfson Children’s Hospital and the patients treated there.

The only children’s hospital in Northeast Florida, Wolfson Children’s serves children across the region with routine and complex conditions, including congenital heart disease, cancer and blood disorders, neurological conditions, traumatic injuries and more.

In 2024, as they have for the last several years, the proceeds will benefit Wolfson Children’s C. Herman and Mary Virginia Heart Institute, the only program in Jacksonville that provides a full range of cardiac services for children.

“I continued to be inspired by the support we receive from anglers who come from across the Southeast, many of them for generations, to participate in the tournament. While they have a passion for fishing, they also have a passion for making a difference in the lives of Wolfson Children’s patients,” said Sam Dean, Baptist Health system director of Plant Facilities, who helped organize the first event in 1989 and currently serves as tournament co-chair. “These are anglers with a heart.”

Along with the thousands of anglers in attendance, more than 100 volunteers from Baptist Health, Wolfson Children’s, the City of Palatka and area businesses join together to make the tournament a success year after year.

“I’m so thankful to be a part of such an important event. As the tournament grows, so does the support for Wolfson Children’s. It’s been incredibly rewarding to know that together we’re making a difference in the lives of children from across the Southeast,” said Brian Seay, tournament co-chair and executive vice president of Miller Electric.

Registration is now open for the three-day event, which includes a Lads & Lasses Tournament on Thursday, May 16, followed by a VIP & Friends Tournament on Friday, May 17. The 35th Annual Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass Tournament kicks off at safe light on Saturday, May 18. More than $48,000 in cash prizes will be awarded during the three-day event.

Also returning in 2024 is the annual bass boat giveaway. For $20, anyone may enter a drawing to win a 21’ 2024 Bullet Boat model 21XRS with a trailer, courtesy of Bullet Boats, valued at $78,000, with a motor to be included. Like the tournament, all proceeds will benefit the Terry Heart Institute.

“Everyone looks forward to the bass boat giveaway. It’s a fun event that has also become an important part of our fundraising efforts. If you can’t make the tournament, $20 gives you a shot at a new boat while helping support Wolfson Children’s heart patients. It’s a win, win,” Dean said.

To register for the Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass tournament, enter the bass boat drawing or donate to the hospital’s mission, visit wolfsonbasstournament.com.