ICAST event delivers fun on the fairways and lakes of Rosen Shingle Creek.

Jim from FWC manned one of the four fishing holes and he helped anglers make decisions on what to use. Here he is posing with one of the successful anglers.

TV personalities, retail buyers, and bass fishing professionals gathered together on Tuesday before ICAST to play in the 4th Annual Florida Sportsman Bass & Birdies Classic. This year we returned to Rosen Shingle Creek for this fantastic kickoff event. Eighty-one golfers graced the greens for the best-ball scramble combined with bass fishing. Florida Sportsman’s Bass & Birdies Classic donates all proceeds to Keep America Fishing. The event raised $2,800 in proceeds that will go to Keep America Fishing.

Shingle Creek is the headwaters of the Everglades, and this was evident in the beauty of the course. Arrowheads, lily pads, mottled ducks, turtles and more surrounded each pond on the course. Growing up in Florida we dream of fishing these high-end golf courses knowing they hold trophy bass.

Industry leaders have sponsored Bass & Birdies for multiple years. These leaders include Yamaha, Fishing Nosara, COSTA, YETI, Trophy Catch, PowerPole, Daiwa and Bass Pro Shops. Each sponsor provided donations to be raffled off in support of Keep America Fishing. The trophies were supplied by Ross Myers of Bass Fishing Trophies (BTO.com) who did a fantastic job once again creating a trophy worthy of the event.

This day the weather was hot but so was the golf and fishing. Many golfers returning from years past have learned to stack their teams with great golfers and a fisherman who could give them the edge needed to get the best score possible. I saw both great drives and terrible drives; lucky putts and not so lucky putts. It was a fun day to watch golf in the Sunshine State.

Each team had an angler of their choice to fish at each of 4 different holes designated for fishing. These holes were crewed by FWC and volunteer fishing club members from Central Florida. This year there were better bass caught than before. With most fish in that 14- to 16-inch range there were a few that were 20 inches and above as well. Plenty of fish overall, and they were active.

Much to my delight, we ended the day by going to their banquet room for a fantastic American lunch of hotdogs, hamburgers, and chicken breasts with all the sides.

Rick Ryals, Bass & Birdies director, allowed us to eat and then once all the results were in and the strokes tallied, he began announcing the winners of each category.

Second Longest Drive was won by professional angler Chris Lane. He was bested only by Eric Thomas who hit the Longest Drive of the day.

Professional angler Greg Watts, teammate of Chris Lane, was then awarded the Closest to Pin award.

Rick then announced the award for most bass caught for the team of Graig Hale and Mike Savino of Outdoor Sportsman Group, John Hoagland and Lee Fromson. They caught four bass together.

Largest bass of the day belonged to Chris Lane who caught a 6-pound bass that measured 22 inches on the last fishing hole. The fish had come unbuttoned on the shoreline and the lure put one treble hook right into the back of Lane’s leg. He still managed to land the fish and then proceeded to golf two more holes to end the day.

Overall the team that won was comprised of Erick Thomas, Jimmy Murphy and Max Carter who between their strokes and bass deductions managed 50.5 strokes for the day. A very impressive day on the course at Shingle Creek. These are our winners of the 2017 Florida Sportsman Bass & Birdies Classic.

We had pleasure golfing and fishing with each industry professional that came out to the event. Thank you for helping us Keep America Fishing. We look forward to 2018 and the 5th Annual Bass & Birdies Classic!

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