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Weedon Island Classic Anglers of the Year divisional

Weedon Island Classic results by Capt. Pat Horrigan

It was Perfect

The Weedon Island Classic started out like every kayak fishing tournament, it was perfect…well nearly. How about mostly perfect? The weather was very nice with sunshine and a light breeze that lasted throughout the tournament hours and into the evening. The fish were there, boat traffic was to a minimum and everyone was stoked for the last open qualifying tournament of the year for the Kayak Fishing ClassicS invitational national championship.

There had been a full moon the night before the tournament however on a low tide so the fish never really had the opportunity to push the bait onto the dinner table known as the flats. Anglers launched as the sun was rising and the tide was coming in. We figured there would be a huge bite or feeding period of time early on from first light thru around 10:00 AM, tapering off in a lazy Saturday of opportunity fine dining as bait happened by. We were right.

The KFC iAngler Tournament leader board light up like a Christmas tree almost the moment anglers reached their fishing spots. First one fish, followed by four, then more and so on. Around 9:30 AM the bight began to slow and around 10:00 AM it became slow…very slow.  Anglers still had to catch one of species missing from their mix of snook, redfish or trout in the Gulf Coast Slam so the hunt was on.

You could see the individual fishing strategy play out as angler after angler recorded one of the three species for their first catch of the day. Many anglers went after the early trout bite as others perused redfish. Some anglers went snook hunting in the low light of the morning following a low tide full moon and scored then moved onto to redfish and trout. This was a strategy that paid at the awards in the form of podium finishes, sponsor gear and of course money in the Denali Masters Calcutta.

It was interesting to see that while the bite was on fire early, the size of fish were not particularly large which we have become accustomed to in our tournaments. This is not to say that there weren’t any nice fish caught because there were some dandy’s for sure…just not huge. I guess I wanted to see a big girl snook combined with a fat redfish and gator trout in one score. As of late, anglers had been putting together 3 fish inch counts in the 80” to 110” range. We were surprised that this did not happen however that’s fishing as the bite went from hot to not.

We had some new anglers who always struggle with fishing unfamiliar water until they figure out they need to study fish movements and feeding habits. We have watched many such anglers over the years begin this way and become consistent anglers which brings me to how all of this shook out.

Olin Satterfield is once such angler who took some of the best Gulf Region kayak anglers to task that Saturday.  The stars and moon were aligned just right along with the sunrise and placing himself in the right place and the right time to button down is very first ever Kayak Fishing ClassicS tournament victory. Let’s take a look at how he and the rest of the Top Five did in the Weedon Island Classic.

1st Place Olin Satterfield  3 fish 62.8” Total

2nd Place Patrick Nespeca 3 fish 60”  Patrick also took the Bending Branches ‘Big Ole Fish’ award with a fat 24.8 redfish which added an awesome Bending Branches paddle to his winnings.

3 Place Joe Fortunato 3 fish 52.45” in his first KFC tournament. Joe landed a fat 24.7” redfish which was just 1/10th “ too short for tying for the Big Ole Fish honors…nice work Joe.

4th Place Tony Lai 2 fish 38” to secure the Gulf Division Angler of the Year title, more on that later on.

5th Place Billy Wheaton 2 fish 37” for a podium finish in his first ever KFC tournament.

As you can see the big fish were not landed giving way to some great, heartbreaking stories at the awards and the bite really slowed down after to an all stop after 10 AM.

We congratulate all of the anglers for a job well done in a tough tournament. This tournament put everyone’s knowledge and skill set to the test and we congratulate all of you. Our sponsors are very proud of everyone who followed the series and know that it isn’t easy and are pleased to award you such great prizes.

As mentioned in the shakeout of scoring, Tony Lai scored enough inches with a 2 fish catch to secure his place in KFC history and win the Gulf Coast divisional Angler of the Year.

The East Coast divisional Angler of the Year was won by Darren Frost in the Lagoon Classic last month.

We will be awarding their Angler of the Year plaques during the National Championship Classic scheduled for October 22 which will be on the Gulf side of Florida in the famous waters of Matlacha and Pine Island which is posting some outstanding catches right now which will only pick up as cooler weather approaches.

Thank you to all of anglers that follow the Kayak Fishing ClassicS Tournament Series and congratulations to all you amazing anglers from all of our sponsors… See you October 22.