The Ozello Classic was held on May 14th and was once again hosted by Pecks Old Port Cove in Ozello, Florida. The contestants launched their kayaks at 5:30 AM into the calm and quiet morning. This was about to change however.
The anglers were after redfish and trout with flounder being the bonus fish. The tide was ripping under the bridge leading out into the many islands in the Ozello backcountry and Gulf of Mexico. The anglers were using Riverbum Saltwater Flies, High Roller Lures and D.O.A. Lures for the bait bonus points. Many of the contestants had been pre-fishing the area for two weeks and the bite had been very good and expected to continue on tournament day.
The bite was early and often in the dawning light and into the early morning with many anglers recording nice catches. Then it began to change around 9:30 AM as the wind started to build. An ominous sign of things to come was showing on the horizon. About 11:00 AM the contestants were making way back to the check in and grouping up in the small bayou for that last chance but the winds were becoming too powerful to stay on the water. There were several very nice fish caught and the anglers efforts were richly rewarded at the ClassicS Award Ceremony.
Brian Sutton managed the only slam of the day as the winds shutdown the bite, with a fat redfish and a trout. Both caught on D.O.A. Lures for bait bonus points and First Place. Bob Bramblet captured second place also using D.O.A Lures, James Van Pelt hooked third place with D.O.A. followed by James Foy who captured the tournaments Biggest Fish and the Aqua-Bound Paddles award with a 29’ redfish and a crazy photo to prove his excitement which is a story in itself.
Andrew Reschke captured fifth place with a dandy 25” fat redfish also on D.O.A. Lures followed by Marty Meakin in sixth with a 24.5” red caught on a High Roller Lures Chug Bug.
The wind was just too much once again for much fly fishing however James Foy had just set down is fly rod armed with a RiverBum fly and made a locating cast on spinning gear when his winning red pounded the lure. Nice catch for sure, but he really wanted it on the fly. Better luck in Sarasota on June 4th in the Tarpon Fever Classic. Thank you and Congratulations to all contestants for a hardy showing and great sportsmanship and to the Crystal River Best Western who so graciously were the event Lodging Host.