Each tournament is designed to take the angler out of his or her comfort zone and level the playing field for all. Averaging over 50 anglers for each event, the aim of this all artificial lure series is to have anglers come together for a low cost, fun tournament in which even a beginning angler stands a great chance of winning when the day is over. The largest inshore slam, which consists of Snook, Redfish and Sea Trout, is the goal of each angler on tournament day. Prizes are awarded for the largest of each species as well as the top three in the slam category. An “Angler of the Year” competition was introduced this year, with anglers earning points for each tournament they attended, as well as their total inches for each tournament carrying over as points towards naming the Angler of the Year. Each tournament has defined boundaries in which the anglers must launch from, but once on the water they can travel as far as they choose, under their own power of course.
The formats haven’t changed much in the past seven years, there have been some small adjustments such as this year’s addition called “The Dynamic Duo” Held in September, competitors were allowed just two lures. Two rods, two lures, that’s it. Lure choice was left up to each person and despite the limitations imposed there were good numbers of fish caught. The other formats for the 2010-2011 seasons were as follows:
“Mystery Lure” – Show up and you will be provided with the lures to use.
This year’s lures:
4” Top water – Highroller 2ea.
Bucktail Jigs – Anglers Ammo
Jig Heads – Slayer Inc
Spoon – Aqua Dream
Soft Plastics - Bass Assassin
“The Tackle Box” - Bring the whole tackle box.
“The Erick Bell Memorial” - Erick Bell was the originator of the very popular “One Lure Challenge”. Erick would pick the lure and everybody had to use the same one. He came up with some very unique and different lures over the years, everything from Bucktail Jigs to Horny Toad Frogs. (Which by the way, we had the most fish caught on the White Horny Toad).
“My Lures Are Better Than Yours” - Competitors choose just one lure, they can bring as many of that one lure as they chose, but they can only use that one lure.
After each competition, the scores are tallied up during what we call the “Pic and Sip”. Couldn’t really call it a “Weigh-in” seeing how all we do is turn in a score sheet and pictures of our catch. Stories of the one that got away are told over some cold adult beverages, old friends are seen again, new ones made while the judges go over each entry.
The “Committee” meetings held after each tournament are the highlight of the day. Many of the ideas for PFTS events were hatched during a committee meeting.
After this year’s tournaments, I was having a conversation with one of our sponsors and he came up with an idea to talk with the top five finishers in the Angler of the Year. So I sent out questions to each of them and compiled their answers in hopes that their information might help all the anglers that compete in these fun tournaments. Look for the interviews to follow.
2010-2011 PFTS Angler of the Year.
1st Place Chris Ravelo – 283 points
2nd Place – Mark Bellotte – 248 points
3rd Place – Dave Horn – 208 points
4th Place – Jose Chavez – 201 points
5th Place – Steve Manning
About the Author: Bill Howard is a Pro Staff Member at Yakangler.com, as well as Malibu Kayaks. He is also on the Columbia Sportswear Pro Team. Bill is an avid photographer and writer, contributing to numerous websites and publications in the Tampa Bay area.
In 2008 he completed a 17 day, 129 mile trip around Tampa Bay raising nearly $4000 dollars for the American Heart Association. He is also a board member for the Tampa Bay Chapter of Hero's on the Water.