Well, we have answers now - and they are all good! Two-time national champion Mark Knowles fished his way to the First Place podium, winning the Ozello Classic with a total of 43.8”. The Second Place podium was captured by Kyle Staton and D.O.A., who checked in 40.2”. Otis Coblentz hooked up with MirrOlure to score 36.8” and the Third Place podium. Coblentz also won the RAILBLAZA “Action Photo Award” with a great shot of a snook jumping on the end of his line. Fourth Place podium finisher Marty Meakin was 35.3 series points behind the leader going into this tension-packed Classic. Marty scored 34.6” using D.O.A. “Shad ‘Tails. He was followed by William Lusk on the Fifth Place podium with 29.9” caught on a MirrOlure “MirrOdine”. James Foy caught the largest fish, a 25.5” redfish that looked more like a red buffalo. We congratulate the Top Five, and all of the contestants who fished Ozello Classic.
What do the series standings look like halfway through the series? Two tournaments ago, less than 40 points separated the Top Five and only two-tenths of a point separated first-place Rick Klosicki, and Marty Meakin. That’s very close competition! Then 10,000 Islands Classic in the Everglades, Klosicki pulled ahead of Meakin and the rest of the pack by 35.3 points and could take a breath.
Then fishing happened! Klosicki had a tough day in Ozello, while Meakin scored a podium and other anglers were smelling blood in the water as the drums of change were pounding. The difference in series points earned at the Ozello Classic was too great for Klosicki to hold onto the top, at least for now. Marty Meakin surpassed Klosicki with a series standings score of 472.6 points and the top spot. Rick Klosicki came in at the halfway point with 469.7 points for a very strong second place in the standings. Are we back to square one, with only 2.9 points separating the two fishing Titans? It seems like it, but let’s have a look at the rest of the top contestants who have been quietly at work. Otis Coblentz added nearly 86 series points in Ozello, and is in third place with 393.1 points. Johnathan Ross is in fourth place with 334.4 series points, followed by Bill White with 299.6 points and William Lusk with 298.7 points. The top ten anglers are separated by only 253.7 series points, and the top five are only 173 points apart with five more ClassicS between now and October. That is all very, very close competition. It is still anyone’s game, and a come-from-behind victory is not at all out of the question.
As I like to say, fishing happens! We will see how the kettle cooks in Sarasota on June 16 at the Old Salty Dog Tarpon Fever Classic. For all of the series standings and more information, please visit the ClassicS at www.KayakFishingClassicS.com.