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First-Ever Kayak Challenge A Hit!

Florida Sportsman member Wizfisher with a nice snook caught during the tournament. Notice the Florida Sportsman token included in the photo.

More than 100 kayak anglers statewide signed up for Florida Sportsman’s first-ever Kayak Challenge. The tournament ran from June 1 and July 31, two whole months of high-octane catching as part of inshore and offshore divisions. Kayakers could compete in both divisions with a single entry fee that solely benefitted the TJ and Tommy Recovery Fund.

One of the highlights of the Challenge was the wide range of targets.

Inshore species included redfish, seatrout, snook, flounder and jack crevalle. The longest aggregate measurement of three of those species five species would decide the top three winning places.

Offshore species included jacks (Amber, Almaco, Banded Rudder), dolphin, grouper (excluding Goliath), snapper, mackerel (king, Spanish and cero), sea bass, tuna, wahoo, cobia and tripletail. The longest aggregate measurement of four of those species decided the top three offshore winners.

For complete details, check out the official tournament page.

“A lot of people got some really nice fish!” said Livinthedream, a top angler and tourney volunteer. “The cool thing about this tournament was all it took was 1 or 2 good days on the water to change the standings. I hope there are more Florida Sportsman kayak tournaments to come.”

Each week, a big fish prize was given to offshore and inshore anglers. That allowed anglers not in the running for the grand prize to still have shots at prizes each week. In total, the tournament handed out 22 different prizes. Not bad for a $25 buy-in!

Mangohunter’s topwater redfish helped him place second in the final standings for the inshore division. For his fishing success, he wins two rods and reels from Quantum fishing.


Below, the final winners of the tournament:

Offshore Winners and Prizes

1st Place 192″ Pottymouth—Hobie Mirage Revolution 13 from Estero River Outfitters
2nd Place 162″ Livinthedream—Two Quantum Combos
3rd Place 152″ FLATS BROKE—Settles Bridge Supply House kayak accessory pack

Inshore Winners and Prizes

1st Place 106″ MarxSG—Hobie Mirage Revolution 13 from Estero River Outfitters
2nd Place 102.5″ mangohunter11—Two Quantum Combos
3rd Place 92″ super-duper—Settles Bridge Supply House kayak accessory pack

Below, the weekly winners of the tournament:

Inshore:

Week 1: 30.5 inch trout by Chobeeboys
Week 2: 35.5 inch redfish by Flyslinger
Week 3: 39 inch snook by JCampbell577
Week 4: 40 inch redfish by Mangohunter11
Week 5: 33 inch snook by Tarpontine
Week 6: 38.5 inch redfish by MarkSG
Week 7: 37 inch snook by irishjean
Week 8: 39 inch redfish by superduper

Offshore:

Week 1: 45 inch Jack by NELBAG
Week 2: 44 inch kingfish by Livinthedream
Week 3: 21 inch snapper by pottymouth
Week 4: 45 inch wahoo by Flatsbroke
Week 5: 44 inch kingfish by Yakntat
Week 6: 46 inch kingfish by kayakangler
Week 7: 45.5 inch kingfish by Saltysack
Week 8: 31.5 inch dolphin by BlackJeep


Florida Sportsman member BonitoBob, Tournament Director and Blogger, had this to say about the offshore winners:

“Pottymouth, congratulations on an impossible 192 inches! Livinthedream, nice work! You set the pace early on and never faltered.”

And for the inshore division, which might have been even more competitive, Bob joked: “Mark, the fire department has been looking for you ’cause you are on fire! A 106 inch slam is irresponsible. Congrats! And Mango, you have been setting the pace for over a month now. You are the man.”

The sponsors truly helped get this tournament off the ground. Companies such as Hobie Kayaks, Quantum Reels, Deep South rods, YakAttack, Estero River Outfitters, and Settles Bridge Supply House provided the top prizes that made this tournament possible. Then it was a matter of getting the word out to fellow Florida Sportsman members and kayakers.

“I wanted to give a report on the Deep South rod I won,” said Florida Sportsman member Chobeeboys, who won a weekly prize. “It got lost in a small cove for 5 days and then it broke on a 20-inch snook. I called the company today to ask if I could buy another because I really liked it. The gentleman on the phone said that he was happy that I liked his rod and he would send me another free of charge and that I should keep the one I had and give it to my son to use. The customer service was outstanding and it was a pleasure talking to him.”

Florida Sportsman Yakntat with a nice kayak grouper from the Panhandle area. Yakntat might have been the best bottom-fishing angler in this tournament, catching grouper, snapper and other species.

The biggest question from most kayakers was, “When’s the next tournament?” Most anglers deemed the kayak tourney a success, even if they weren’t a top finisher. Click here for final list of all participants who submitted fish.