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Friday, 23 January 2015 00:00

Florida Anglers Strike Back for the Extreme Crown

Written by Joe Hector
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Not your average kayak folk competed last weekend in the nation’s exclusive Sailfish Smack Down 2015. This second-annual event brought sixty one anglers to Pompano Beach, FL from all over the US and Canada, and once again the tournament proved to be one of the best events for saltwater kayak anglers. 

Saturday, January 17 was the first day of competition, and the anglers were amped as they arrived to the Pompano Pier launch site. You could feel the energy and excitement as they geared up their kayaks. Dandee Doughnuts provided the anglers with caffeine and carbs to fuel them for the long day offshore. The rising sun in the east signaled shoot off was near. As the countdown approached and the DJ blasted AC/DC from the speakers, everyone knew it was time to launch!

Jon Venarchick from Naples, FL, a newcomer to the offshore kayak fishing scene, blew up the VHF radio with “Fish On! As the help boats raced over to document his sail, another angler hollered over the radio. Rob Rodriguez from Sunrise, FL had a fish on. The help boats split up to help assist each angler. Venarchick was the first to land his sailfish at 10:33am.Rodriguez was not far behind, landing his fish at 11:02 am. Not long after both sailfish were released, Joe Kraatz was hooked up. Kraatz landed his sail at 11:52am.Two more sailfish were hooked and lost, including one more by Kraatz; he thought he might take the lead from Venarchick, but the fish was lost halfway through the fight. After the chaos of that morning and as noon was approaching, the Zona Fresca girls made their way out on the water, and tossed freshly-made burritos to the hungry anglers.

On day two, the fishermen were determined and in great spirits. The morning was cool and the ocean like glass as they all lined up on the shore. Most of them got a head start as they made their way towards the bait boat, and once the horn sounded they were gone. The morning started out fast as Brian Whelan hooked up to his sailfish at 9:00am. and touched his leader at 9:35am. Whelan was excited knowing that if he landed one more fish he would take the top spot. This almost happened two hours later, but unfortunately the second fish was lost. The final sailfish of the day was caught by Lynn Hall from Oklahoma; he landed his prize at 11:05am. Other fish were hooked throughout the day, including a double sailfish hookup, but the angler lost both fish.

After the valiant effort by all anglers on day two, in the end Venarchick secured the winning spot. Jon Venarchick was $3,000 richer thanks to main sponsor Turbo USA. His accomplishment also earned him a brand new pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses, $100 gift card from one of Extremes main sponsors Adrenaline Fishing Custom Rods, and a gorgeous sailfish mount trophy from Global Fish Mounts. Second place went to Rob Rodriguez. He collected up $1,000 donated by Nautical Ventures, a pair of Costas, and a plaque from Global Fish Mounts. Third place went to Joe Kraatz, who earned $500 donated by Nautical Ventures, and a new pair of Costas. Brian Whelan came in fourth, and received a pair Costas, while Lynn Hall was awarded a beautiful painting by Peter Agardy and donated by Saltwater Brewery for finishing in fifth place.

San Antonio, TX angler Tod Johnson topped the YakAttack Die Hard Dolphin Division with his beautiful 14.1lb. dolphin and won $500, along with Extreme bragging rights.

A big thank you to all the Extreme Kayak Fishing sponsors for their support and amazing merchandise for our raffle (which benefited the Broward Children’s Center) as well as awesome goodies for the captains bags: Turbo USA, Nautical Ventures, Brus Room Pompano Beach, Global Fish Mounts, Fishbrain, Costa del Mar, Zone Fresca, Saltwater Brewery, Cape Eleuthera, Viking Kayaks, Yeti Coolers, Under Armour, GoPro, Aftco, Guy Harvey, Pompano Ford, Tunaskin, H2Outdoors, Hobie, Hoo-Rag

For more on Extreme Kayak Fishing tournaments, check out www.extremekayakfishing.com

Read 3221 times Last modified on Friday, 23 January 2015 10:37