September 05, 2014
By Bob Bramblet
The 3rd Annual Florida Sportsman Kayak Challenge is finally over. There were 110 anglers from around the state, fishing in two divisions, during this two-month marathon tournament.
The more than $6000 prize pool paid out the top five anglers from each division, including Ocean Kayak Big Game Kayaks, Bending Branches, YakGear, RCI Optics, Head2Boat, SeaDek, Salt Life, Marx Sporting Goods and Plano. This year, Rip Tide Baits provided soft plastic baits to the first 100 entries and Live Target lures, YakGear and Rip Tide provided weekly prize packs for the anglers who caught the largest fish for that week.
In the offshore division, nine kayakers tallied a total of 751-inches of fish with an average total score of 83-inches. The largest fish was a 54-inch kingfish caught by Austin Collins. The inshore division had many more anglers enter fish. A total of 35 anglers entered a total of 2055.5-inches of fish with the average at 59-inches. The largest inshore fish was a 44-inch redfish caught by Dane Gaetjens.
Robinson Rodriguez, aka Pottymouth, won the offshore challenge with 165-inches for his largest four fish caught. That didn't break the record he set in 2012 with a 192-inches total, but it got the job done!
Robin said of the event, “The Challenge is by far the best online tournament I have participated in. Great format, easy to register, easy to post your catches and user friendly. I had an awesome time participating and cannot wait for the next one. It's really anyone's game, I was lucky I had the fishing gods on my side this time around.”
Jason Broach edged out second place for the inshore challenge with a near record 107-inches for first place.
“I think a big part of this tournament is strategy and fishing specific areas known for big fish of the targeted species and focusing on any seasonal patterns that increases the likelihood of landing those fish. My strategy this year was the same as last year; fish the treasure coast for a big trout and snook, then head north as far as Jacksonville in search of a bull red,” Jason said.
This year's proceeds will be donated to Heroes on the Water, an organization that helps our Nation's warriors and veterans from all branches of the United States military unwind using the therapeutic qualities of fishing from kayaks. What looks like a day trip of paddling and fishing, is in fact something much deeper and long lasting. Congratulations to all of the anglers who participated and to this years top anglers!
Offshore Division Top 5 Anglers
1st – Robin Rodriguez - 165”
2nd – Austin Collins - 158.5”
3rd - Michael Ritger - 123”
4th - Adam Fisk - 108”
5th – Bobby Buzaki - 61.5”
Inshore Division Top 5 Anglers
1st – Jason Broach - 107”
2nd - Thaddeus Day - 102”
3rd – Michael McDaniel - 99 “
4th - Max Lichtig - 98”
5th - Joe Henary - 98”