It was pleasant enough as we set up for the awards at the Old Salty Dog Restaurant. The wind was just enough to make locating tarpon and reds on the flats all but impossible, but the talented field of contestants were undaunted and paddled on. Only a few anglers saw any tarpon, and none were able to fool the Silver King as they seemed more interested in “going” than “chewing”.
Joe Komyati managed to score two redfish to take his position on the First Place Podium. This is Joe’s first visit to that podium, and he was all smiles about it. Joe scored a 21.8” and22.4” pair of reds for a total of 44.2”and the win. This was not an easy feat on this day, and made for a nice bump to his Series standings. In addition to the honors and series points, Joe enjoyed the lion’s share of the $10,000 in sponsor gear prizes. Congratulations once again, Joe, from all of us and the ClassicS sponsors.
Joe Lineberry captured one redfish - but it was the dandy of the day at 25.1”. Joe won the Second Place Podium and the Bending Branches Big Fish Award. Joe had just missed several podiums this year, and we were happy to see him land it and his share of the sponsor gear prizes. Congratulations, Joe!
Jose Vidal of Team Diablo Paddlesports made the trip from the East Coast for his first-ever Classic and it proved to be a good investment for him. Jose scored a 24.2” red and secured the Third Place Podium for himself and Team Diablo. He was able to use his Diablo “Adios” kayak to its full advantage and spot a pod of tarpon on the flats in Sarasota Bay. He made his approach and made a perfect cast, only to be snubbed by the King. To add insult to such an injustice, his offerings were rejected time and time again. No poons for you… or anyone else, for that matter. It was a tough day all around. That did not stop the smiles as Jose took his first podium in the ClassicS, and we congratulate him and Team Diablo Paddlesports.
Otis Coblentz, who usually scores lots of fish, managed to pick up a 19.5” redfish for the Fourth Place Podium. When Otis can’t hook up multiple fish, you know it’s tough. In fact, we had to check the “OtisOmeter” to see if it was working. Otis was still all smiles, as he always is, and happy to visit the podium once again.
This tournament was a good opportunity for many anglers to move up in the series standings, as several of the series members were engaged in prior commitments. We congratulate all of the contestants, and thank them and all of our sponsors.