Melbourne, FL – May 24, 2014 – Over one week has passed since the Classic ended. As I reflect on the past seven years I have attended it, the classic keeps drawing kayak anglers from all across the world to compete for this year’s bragging rights. The weather was picture perfect when compared to the rain that plagued the Classic last year. The only obstacle the anglers had to deal with was wind gusting to 15 mph over open water. Other than that, it was a perfect day to fish.
Billed as the “World’s Largest Kayak Fishing Tournament”, the 2014 Columbia Sportswear Jacksonville Kayak Fishing Classic had 415 registered with 395 fishing. The tournament started on Friday at the 6:30 PM Captain's Meeting at the Ramallah Club and ended at about 7:00 PM on Saturday when the last award was handed out. The tournament raised $36,000 for Heroes on the Water and the Downs Syndrome Association of Jacksonville.
One of the things that make this tournament successful is the sponsors. Without them the Classic could not raise the money it does year after year. Each year the top kayak manufacturers step up to the plate and hit home runs, Wilderness Systems, Native Watercraft, Ocean Kayak, Emotion, Hobie, Jackson, Malibu Kayaks, and Old Town all did their part. All the slam, redfish, trout and flounder 1st place winners took home a new fishing kayak with prizes being given down to 5th place. In addition to these for main divisions there were awards for fly and lady angler, 1st, 2nd and 3rd junior angler and senior angler. The awards that were received by place winners were donated by the many kayak fishing companies that donated rods, reels, paddles, PDFs, sunglasses, coolers, hat, power poles and all other sorts of gear kayak anglers can use. The tournament also hands out a trophy for the family that catchers the longest string of fish. You can follow this link to see the full tournament results of the Classic. jacksonvillekayakfishingclassic.com/may14results.html
This year I was very lucky and had the opportunity to work with Kara Armano, a Senior Account Manager at Backbone Media and Redington to provide the “Fly Angler” award. Redington donated a 6 wt. Vapen Red fly rod to the Classic. The “Fly Angler” award was presented to Jason Schall from Charleston, SC. Jason won the 2014 IGFA Outstanding Sportsmanship of the year award.
The entire Columbia Sportswear Jacksonville Kayak Fishing Classic team did a great job. The chicken winds and BBQ from Sticky Fingers have become a tournament standard. This year the wings were deep fried on the spot making them the best wings ever.
The raffle is one of the highlights that kayak anglers come to enjoy. This year I decided to increase the number of tickets I purchased with hopes of increasing my odds. Well it did not help. For two years in a row I did not win any of the great prized donated by the sponsors.
This year the tournament implemented a web browser or smart phone app by www.321Fish.com where anglers could submit photos of their catch right from their kayak using their smart phone. This method of registering a catch in a CPR tournament via a smart phone app is not new but increasing in popularity. The Snook & Gamefish Foundation has been promoting the Anglers Action mobile fishing app since last season. And one can enter many virtual fishing tournaments on the www.ianglertournament.com web site.
This year’s tournament was another big success. Until next time, be safe in the sun and have a great day in the great outdoors and see you next year at the 2015 Columbia Sportswear Jacksonville Kayak Fishing Classic.