The first event of the 2013-2014 Paddle-Fishing.com Tournament Series was held on September 21, 2013 in the Upper Tampa Bay area. This event was a memorial event for our good friend and long time judge for the PFTS. Mark could always be found at the Pic n’ Sip sitting behind a computer making sure the scores were tabulated correctly, looking at fish pics to verify measurements and doing anything else to help make sure the events went off without a hitch.
Our lure sponsor for this event was Mister Twister who supplied everyone with Mark’s favorite lure the EXUDE gold dart. You rarely had to ask Mark what he had on the end of his line.
The day started very early for all but the Tournament Director who arrived an hour late due to an alarm clock malfunction. Or so he claims. The morning sign in that was supposed to run from 6:15 to 6:45 ended up being a quick sign in for all 38 guys at 7:15. Most of the anglers took it in stride and used it as a good time for a well deserved ribbing of the Tournament Director.
The anglers were met with a beautiful early fall Florida day. Lots of sun, a nice breeze and hungry fish.
The format for this event was a points format. Each angler got points equal to the number of inches for a redfish, 15 points for a snook and 10 points for a trout. In the case of a tie, the tiebreaker was 5 points for anything species of fish caught. There were a lot of redfish, snook and trout caught but the D.A.R.T. also hooked into a large number of ladyfish, mullet, pinfish, lizardfish, jack and more. The gold D.A.R.T. is a darn good fish catching lure!
Our Pic n’ Sip was held once again at Barfly in Safety Harbor. Great food, cold drinks and attentive service in a fun spot in the center of downtown Safety Harbor. When you stop by, try the Fish Tacos!
Now for the winners!
1st Place went to Chris “ChrisR” Ravelo. Chris entered a 26″ redfish, a 27.5″ snook and a 17.5″ trout which got him 51 points. Chris took home $190 and 20 bags of EXUDE lures!
2nd Place went to Scott “Big Hammer” Dalton. Scott entered a 24″ redfish, an 18″ snook and a 12 ” trout for 49 points. Scott took home $114 and 10 bags of EXUDE lures.
3rd Place went to Walt “Shallowfly” Palen. Walt entered a 21.5″ redfish, a 29.5″ snook and a 15.5″ trout for 46.5 points. Walt took home $76.
Large snook was won by Todd Llewellyn. His snook was the largest of those not already ‘in the money’ at 19.5″. Todd took home a $25 gift certificate from Masthead Marine, a local St. Pete kayak and sailing store. Paul, the owner, is a long time supporter of the PFTS.
Now for the most prestigious award in the PFTS – The PFTS Perpetual Jug. This went to John “Ump608″ Chapman for his 25” redfish. The jug carries great responsibility. Every winner over the years has signed it and added a little something inside the jug. The jug even has it’s own Facebook page to detail it’s exploits in the hands of the winners. Take good care of it John and be sure to bring it to PFTS #2 in October!
Mister Twister EXUDE also donated another gift certificate for 10 bags of EXUDE lures to be raffled off. This raffle was won by Richard “Rpiatt3” Piatt III.
This years first event of the season was a good success with lots of fish caught, a good time out on the water, fantastic sponsors and a great venue for the Pic n’ Sip.
The next event, sponsored by Gambler Lures, will be another test of the angler’s ability. Gambler has provided us with lures that will likely be a first time for many anglers. They are both proven fish catching lures that I’m sure our skilled anglers will use to fill up their tally sheet. PFTS #2 will be held on October 26, 2013 along the South Shore of Tampa Bay.
Once again, thanks to the sponsors and all who came out to fish! Look forward to seeing you at the next event.
All photos courtesy of Bill “Heywood” Howard