The Kayak Fishing ClassicS held their Invitational National Championship in Pine Island, hosted by Capt’n Con’s Fish House on October 22. Anglers from the Gulf Region launched their kayaks into a breeze which became a 20 mph blow, in their quest for a Gulf Coast Slam. Weigh in was held at the good Captains eatery at 3pm allowing anglers 8 hours to catch their largest Snook, Redfish and Trout to earn top honors, bragging rights for a year, Denali Masters Cash and of course tables full of the ClassicS amazing sponsors gear and special prizes for the event. This was the seventh Championship Classic for KFC, which concluded a great series year.
Next up is the Three Day Challenge tournament on November 18, 19, 20 which is open to all kayak anglers and has a fishing zone from Anclote Key, north of Tampa Bay all the way to Estero Bay on the Gulf Coast. This tournament is also a Gulf Coast Slam event with launch time at 7am Friday November 18th and weigh in on the 20th at Billy’s Stone Crab Restaurant in Tierra Verde, Florida near Fort DeSoto. Any kayak angler may now register for the tournament at www.KayakFishingClassicS.com
When we pulled up to Capt’n Con’s on Pine Island it looked as if the gulf was covered with snow. The wind had whipped the waves into a very close set with huge whitecaps which certainly added another element to the challenge to winning the KFC Championship that day. We were tracking the iAngler Tournament scoring on the way to Pine Island to set up the awards and weigh in. Anglers sent in their launch photos and hit the water setting the score board on fire at 7:15am which did not stop all day.
Anglers were able to find protected areas, out of the wind and so were the hungry fish. The 6am high tide began pulling out at 7am as the bite turned on hard marking the beginning of a near perfect day. The fish for the most part were not huge but were plentiful with 62 fish scored throughout the day. The largest being a redfish of 28.3” caught by Adam Witbeck. That earned him the Bending Branches Big Ole Fish Award and sweet Bending Branches Angler Pro Paddle.
5th place was won by Adam Calderon with 58.8” total. That earned him an Engle Cooler and we filled it up with sponsor gear; hats, shirts, lures, Flying Fisherman Sunglasses and some extra MoJo for the upcoming 3 Day Challenge.
4th Place captured by Robert Brown with a 64.9” total which also earned him a cooler full of sponsor gear and congratulations from all. Brown had a great year and we know we will see him next month.
3rd Place was taken by William Lusk with a 64.4” total. This is where it gets fun trying to watch the winners handle all of the sponsor gear winnings but we had him covered with extra boxes. We will see William at the 3 Day Challenge as well…he really likes winning.
2nd Place was earned by Tony Lai with a 69.3” total. Tony had a fantastic year on the tournament trail and won the West Division Angler of the Year. Tony also set a new KFC record with the smallest fish scored; a 10.4” Snook earning him a nice pair of Flying Fisherman Sunglasses. See you next month Tony.
1st Place was taken by Joe Henary with a 69.7” total. The lead changed hands several times during the tournament with Joe holding the early lead, falling all the way to 4th place at one point, then working his way back to top podium with only a short time to go before weigh in closed at 3pm. As you can see it was very close. Joe won a table full of sponsor gear and the Power-Pole ‘Champion’ Prize…a nice Power-Pole Micro and 8’ pole.
So after many years of being very close Joe Henary can now say he won the big won having competed with top Gulf Regional anglers and scoring fish when he needed to. With that said he has earned the bragging rights so we ask for your indulgence please…
The Denali Masters Calcutta paid out $900.00 which is a pretty nice day on the water. Joe Henary earned himself $450.00 from Denali Performance Apparel. Tony Lai won 2nd Place Denali Masters and earned $270.00 and William Lusk earned 3rd Place Denali Masters and $180.00, Congratulations from Denali Performance Apparel.
Angler of the Year:
East Division Angler of the Year was won by Darren Frost
West Division Angler of the Year was won by Tony Lai
Artistic Fish Creations Biggest Fish of the Year Award
Connor Jones won the award with his 33” Redfish and an amazing replica mount by artist Tom Lyons. Congratulations Connor, a prize mount of a lifetime.
All of us at the Kayak Fishing ClassicS congratulate all of fantastic anglers who braved the day and competed throughout the year. We also wish to thank all of our amazing sponsors and invite you to visit them through our website on our Sponsor Pages. Please take a moment to thank them and post them up on your social media avenues. When you are in Pine Island please stop in and visit Capt’n Con’s. They have great food and very good prices with friendly service. Thanks for reading and see you on the water.