After a Friday evening Captain’s Meeting, buffet dinner, and exchange of fishing information and stories, the kayakers set out at first light Saturday morning in search of a trophy-worthy catch.
Fishing out of Wilderness Systems “Tarpon 140” kayak, with a Pflueger “Trion” rod and reel combo using 2lb Power Pro Line and soft plastic bait, Curtis Cleary from Homosassa, Fl brought in the 27½” winning redfish. In addition to a cash prize and the Longest Redfish trophy, Curtis also won a HawkEye portable fish finder, donated by tournament sponsor NorCross Marine Products, Inc. in Orlando, L.
Curtis Cleary brought in the biggest redfish
Mark Osborne, a local Yankeetown resident from Clearwater, FL caught the winning 18¾” trout on the outgoing morning tide, fishing the oyster bars ¼mi west of the mouth of the Withlacoochee River north of the Cross Florida Barge Canal. He moved inshore on the incoming tide to fish the grass islands, and caught redfish at the edge of the grass after the water flooded over the islands. Mark fished out of a 14’ Wilderness Systems “Commander” kayak using a Quantum “Tour” 7’ HS medium action rod with Suffix 20lb braided line, 40lb Seaguar fluorocarbon leader, with live and dead shrimp on a gold ¼ oz jig, floated under a Cajun Thunder popping cork. In addition to the trophy and cash prize winning trout, he brought in the 2nd place 24½”redfish. With a combined length of 43¼”, Mark won the Grand Slam trophy and cash prize.
Mark Osborne (Longest Trout & Grand Slam) with Doug Dame, President Inglis Yankeetown Lions Club
Thanks to sponsor donations, almost everyone ended up walking away with consolation prizes including iClear Cleaning Wipe dispensers, a NorChill 24-can soft cooler, and Blakemore Lures to name a few.
The tournament was hosted by the Inglis Yankeetown Lions Club, and net proceeds are used for charitable endeavours of including eyesight, diabetes prevention, and youth programs. Because of the number of non-target species caught this spring, the Lions plan to add a “Mixed Bag” prize next year. The 3rd Annual Nature Coast Challenge will be held Saturday April 26, 2014. (www.NatureCoastChallenge.com)