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Sunday, 19 May 2013 16:00

Nature Coast Challenge Kayak Fishing Tournament

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Winning Redfish caught by Curtis Cleary Winning Redfish caught by Curtis Cleary

The 2nd Annual ”Nature Coast Challenge”, a kayak Catch-Photo-Release tournament, was held in Yankeetown, FL on April 27, 2013. Sixteen anglers from Zephyrhills and Panama City in Florida, Hampstead, NC and points in between entered this year, including two first-time participants from the Nature Coast Lady Anglers Fishing Club in Crystal River, FL.

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-Redfish copy3

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 Slam

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)

Last modified on Sunday, 19 May 2013 22:21
Ben Hoover

Ben is an avid kayak angler who plies the waters of Hampton Roads, Virginia with fly and light tackle. A transplanted Yankee, he developed a true taste for the salt after moving south of the Mason-Dixon. He is a proud HOW volunteer and remains loyal to http://www.flyfishersparadise.com/, his employer throughout college. Ben can be found on the water under cover of darkness, waving a stick in a plastic boat. He is slowly but surely learning to gear fish.


# Larry Feldhusen 2013-05-20 23:04
Congratulations Curtis and Mark! I'll try to give you some competition next year. 8)
# FLfishR 2013-06-19 07:48
This looks like a great place for a tournament. They need to get the word out a little better. I did not see anything on it until the week of the tournament. I plan to be there next year.

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