Top kayak anglers gathered on Pine Island and Matlacha to launch into the early morning light for the annual Pine Island Classic kayak tournament by the Kayak Fishing ClassicS. Our good friends at Sandy Hook Ribs and Seafood restaurant also had an early day preparing to host the event which always has a great turnout of some of the very best kayak anglers in the Gulf Region.
The anglers were in pursuit of the elusive Gulf Coast Slam which is 1 Snook, 1 Redfish and 1 Trout. The anglers use the catch, photo and release method and record their catch in the iAngler Tournament scoring system as it places their catches onto the KFC tournament leader board instantly. As they catch larger fish, the smaller catches are culled to make room for the big fish scores. Although the anglers catch many fish during the day, only the largest one of each species is counted in scoring. The collected data is then shared with marine research organizations for scientific research on the given area of the tournament.
Anglers began recording catches almost as soon as they got into position while others had to go to their Plan B due to the surprise winds that made a sudden guest appearance…of course. Experienced anglers know that having a Plan B is a must for a variety of reasons but mostly due to ever-changing weather.
Early on we could feel a wave of disappointment by one angler, who had scouted some huge snook during the pre-fishing before tournament day. He was very anxious to use the new Swimbaits by LIVETARGET Lures on some 50” snook that he had located. People from all over the world come to Pine Island to test their skill on the mammoth snook and of course learn a few things from the big ladies. This day for this particular angler was of no exception…school was in session.
Robert Brown located a huge snook in the shallows, quietly approached her and made the perfect cast to her…a beautiful 52” snook… fat, tuff and ready to rumble. She immediately turned on the Swimbait and made off with it like the 5:03 out of Miami. Brown set the hook and she rang the school bell. The fight seemed endless. Several minutes after a few great runs, head shakes and one fantastic jump, she was free of the hookup which she sliced the 30 pound leader with her razor sharp gill plate. Like I said; I could feel the disappointment and it was confirmed as Brown signed into the weigh in. Let’s take a look at how all of this shook out for the field of 25 top guns.
1st Place Robert Brown 3 fish slam total 72.2” a very solid total
2nd Place Ty Nelson of Florida Fishing Products with a nice slam total 68.7”
3rd Place Joe Henary 3 fish slam total of 62.5” for another great angler
4th Place Daniel McKitrick 3 fish slam total of 57.8”
5th Place Eric Hochan 3 fish slam total of 55.3”
The Big Ole Fish award by Bending Branches Paddles was earned by Ty Nelson with a 31.5” Redfish
Congratulations to all anglers for a great day on the water and fun time at weigh in at Sandy Hook. We thank all of you and so do all of our amazing sponsors. Next up for the KFC series is the March 25 Port Charlotte Classic to be hosted by our friends at Hurricane Charley’s in Punta Gorda, Florida. For all details and to thank our sponsors please visit our website at www.KayakFishingClassicS.com Registration is now open for the Port Charlotte Classic and is a Gulf Coast Slam.