2016 Florida Sportsman Kayak Challenge Recap

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Despite wicked conditions of consistent 30 mph winds with gusts up and over 50 mph, 81 registered kayak anglers came out to fish the Florida Sportsman Kayak Challenge. The Florida Sportsman Kayak Challenge was held at the St. Lucie County Fairgrounds on Saturday, January 23, 2016 during the Florida Sportsman Expo event. The proceeds from the Florida Sportsman Kayak Challenge went to benefit the Snook & GameFish Foundation.

Kayak anglers came out well in advance of the morning captain’s meeting to get their kayaks launched alongside of the ponds. It was cold and the wind was cutting through most clothes. Everyone that had registered for the Florida Sportsman Kayak Challenge received a tournament shirt, a freshwater pack of DOA lures, and entry into the Expo for Saturday.

Each angler was required to only use what was provided in the pack of DOA lures. The pack included new DOA worms in two different styles, their CAL series swimbaits, jerkbaits, and shadtails were all in the pack. Not to mention each angler received two 3.5/0, two 5/0 and two jigheads in this pack. The anglers were competing for some great prizes from Engel Coolers and Old Town Kayaks. The Engel cooler/dry boxes were used at the 3 hourly prizes that were awarded for the big bass for each hour. The two Old Town Predator XL Kayaks were our grand prizes to be given to the angler who caught the Biggest Bass and the angler who caught the most bass during the event.

Our pirate friends shot off their muzzleloading pistols and blunderbuss to signal the start of the tournament. There were 81 registered fishermen and fisherwomen for this event and it looked like each and every one of them came out to participate. We also had a few registered at the event adding to the field. There were plenty of anglers who stuck it out in the tough conditions and they were rewarded for their efforts. In spite of the conditions the anglers caught 48 fish during the tournament, 46 being bass and two crappie. It was amazing to see that many fish caught in less than ideal weather. This really showed the angling prowess of our Florida Sportsman No Motor Zone community.

The results for the Florida Sportsman Kayak Challenge are below:

First Hour Winner: Ryan Yunck with a 17.75” Largemouth Bass

Second Hour Winner: Joe Henary with a 17.25” Largemouth Bass

Third Hour Winner: Hugh Shrager with a 20.5” Largemouth Bass

Largest Bass and Winner of a Predator XL from Old Town Kayaks is Hugh Shrager!

The winner of most bass caught was a 3 way tie, and since the last fish brought to the scales first was from Jason Broach, he won the 2nd Predator XL from Old Town Kayaks!

We also had ourselves a fun prize with the smallest largemouth bass caught during the day. That award went to Brian Nelli with an 8.5” Largemouth bass!

Thank you all for coming out and participating and hopefully next year we will have better conditions to fish.

Lined up and ready to hit the water. Talking tactics and rigging up before the start. Pants and a hoodie were necessary on this chilly weekend. The wind will blow you away, if you're not careful. Angler fighting choppy conditions. One of the shots fired to start the FS Kayak Challenge. Hourly winner Ryan Yunck, with his Engel Cooler/Dry Box. Brett Fitzgerald announcing the grand prize, an Old Town Predator XL. Winner, Jason Broach, showing off his Predator XL from Old Town. Measuring one of 48 bass caught during the FS Kayak Challenge.

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