Going into the last event of the ten tournament series, Meakin held the series lead by a very skinny four points, trailed by Joe Komyati. Komyati had been scoring and winning top podium finishes in the last few tournaments as Meakin was struggling. Komyati closed the lead and was closely followed by Otis Coblentz, William Lusk, Johnathan Ross, and Joe Lineberry, all within striking distance of the top spot, the prizes and the Diablo Paddlesports “Adios” kayak. There was over $10,000 in sponsor gear and a year worth of bragging rights at stake. This was suddenly very serious.
Meakin had finished second place in the 2011 Series Championship, and wanted to win it all in 2012 after coming so close last year. He spent as much time pre-fishing as he could, but was catching small redfish. The Southern Redfish Classic was a three redfish slam and in this event, size really did matter. This added to Meakin’s anxiety, as large reds were just not on the chew and would swim past his kayak in an obvious taunt to the highly skilled angler. Other contestants received equal treatment and indifference to their attempts. This would get to anyone.
As the pressure mounted, Meakin could not sleep or think about anything but catching the winning threesome of reds.. The sun came up on tournament day to greet everyone with cheer and an ominous look. The wind was cooking. Had Meakin prepared himself for this? Would there still be fish in his selected area, or was his strategy all bonkers? Had the other anglers found fish? No one was talking, as this was a top secret mission that everyone wanted to win. After driving his friends crazy for a week, Meakin decided to just go fishing and have some fun. He launched his kayak as he has so many times, and paddled away.
We were relaxing in the Riverhouse after setting up the awards as Lusk, Coblentz, and Meakin walked up to the weigh in table. At that moment you can tell a lot how an angler did, and Meakin had that look of relief on his face. The only problem was so did Lusk, and several others that followed. As it turned out, several anglers slammed and scored well. Keep in mind that an angler could win the tournament and not the series. The series score is a total of an angler’s score over ten tournaments held across the series year. This is a long, long series year that can wear you out and put you on your last nerve.
As we entered the catch data into the computer, it was still very close for the top anglers. Then Marty Meakin was called to the data table and his fish were entered. It was looking good for him but with several anglers to go it was still up in the air. Here is how the top five scored:
Otis Coblentz had a tough day - his rod blew up with a monster redfish next to the boat. One fish jumped as he took the entry photo, which had to be disallowed, and he lost his paddle to boot. He did enter the largest fish of the Southern at 26.6” and won the Bending Branches Paddles Big Fish Award (a new paddle). Fifth place went to Joe Komyati with 39.5”. Daniel Currey finished in fourth place with a 57.3” slam Joe Lineberry was in third place with a 62.5” slam. William Lusk landed second with a slam measuring 67.2”, and Marty Meakin slammed the Southern Redfish Classic with 75.2” of redfish for the first place finish. That propelled Meakin to first place in the series, and earned him the 2012 Series Championship title. Meakin has since taken a breath and is now all smiles;friends and family still love him, and we are proud to congratulate him as the 2012 Series Champion.
Joe Komyati took a hard-fought and very well deserved second place in the Series. Otis Coblentz earned the Series third place slot, followed by William Lusk in fourth. Joe Lineberry moved up to capture fifth place in the Series. We congratulate the 2012 Series Top Five, and all of the anglers who helped to make this the best series year ever. All of you kept it close and fun to the very last tournament of the year. A very special “Thank You!” to our Series sponsors who make it all possible. For links to our Series Sponsors and to view the standings, please visit us at www.KayakFishingClassicS.com.