On July 11th the Kayak Fishing ClassicS held the Matlacha Classic hosted by Sandy Hook Fish & Ribs located on the Matlacha Island. Anglers were fishing for a Gulf Coast Slam which consists of 1 redfish, 1 snook and 1 trout. Catching a Gulf Coast Slam is a notable accomplishment and even more so under tournament conditions so congratulations to the all who did so.
Eric Henson, Joe Henary, Adam Calderon, Gary McLearen, Wade Hollowell, Derek Engle, Pepi Vidal and Russell Jacobs all caught a Gulf Coast Slam for a total of 436.2” (only the largest fish per species were counted. Many caught multiple catches of the same species. The additional fish data is shared with the Snook & Game Fish Foundation and several other marine science organizations that we support).
The weather was perfect as the anglers received their fishing tokens at the check in at Sandy Hook and headed to their 6:30 am launch points on either Matlacha or Pine Island, both very famous for their beautiful waters and good fishing.
Marty Meakin caught the largest tournament fish; a dandy redfish measuring 26.8” and it is notable that Eric Henson also caught a 44.8” cobia on a Monster 3X soft plastic lure. Marty Meakin is a past National Championship winner and received an Ohero Ultra Gold rod, Ohero SG 4000 reel, a spool of Ohero Braid and Ohero Fluorocarbon leader spool for his Big Ole Fish award.
Weigh in was at 2:30 pm at Sandy Hook for the artificial lures only, CPR tournament and anglers were happy to come into the friendly, COOL confines of the local eatery. All anglers checked in and had a cold one to cool off and chat about their battles as lunch was served. The stories are interesting to hear if you can pick one out from the chatter of happy anglers sharing the day’s strategies. Anglers from as far away as Austin, Texas were in this event which is becoming more and more common this year.
The Kayak Fishing ClassicS utilizes the iAngler Tournament electronic scoring system so it is just a matter of minutes to finalize the last minute entries that made it in just under the cutoff time. No longer do anglers have to thumb thru photos and fill out score sheets as the convenient app does it all for them including culling out the smaller fish. This makes for a very relaxing wind-down from the day’s events as everyone cools off and enjoys some good eats.
Capt. Pat Horrigan began the awards by starting with the 5th place winner and worked up to 1st place so let’s take a look at how it all played out;
5th Place was won by Wade Hollowell with a GCS total of 55.3” which marks an occasion of besting his fishing buddy for the first time in a tournament. Congratulations Wade, nice job.
4th Place was won by Gary McLearen with a total of 56.4” who is learning more every event. We look for Gary to be on the winner’s podium soon. Congratulations Gary and we will see you at Weedon Island in September.
3rd Place was captured by Adam Calderon, last year national champion. Adam Scored a total of 56.9” who commented that fishing was tough and that he was very happy to be standing on the winner’s podium. It should be noted that the tides change quite a bit here and where fish are one day doesn’t mean they will be there tomorrow. Great job Adam, way to battle through and Congratulations from all of our sponsors; we know you will enjoy the great gear that you won.
2nd Place was hooked by Joe Henary with a total of 58.1” in his GCS. Joe was very happy as well and can’t wait to use the TFO Gary Loomis TWS rod that went along with all of cool sponsor gear he won. Congratulations Joe from all of us here at the ClassicS and all of our fantastic sponsors.
1st Placed with captured by Eric Henson with a total GCS of 58.8” for his victory. Now that’s cutting it close! Only 7/10 of an inch separated first place from second place and it made for a nervous moment. Eric is a pro-staff team member of Johnson Outdoors Watercraft who just happens to be our kayak sponsor…nice going. Henson has been working very hard to get where he is who also represents another of our sponsor’s pro-staff team; Monster 3X lures which of course he used to catch some of his winners today. Henson won a Mystic Outdoors Vapour rod that many anglers were taking a very close look at…Congratulations Eric from all of our sponsor and all of us and I know we will see you in the national championship in October.
The ClassicS are sponsored by many top shelf manufactures who award their products to our winners. The gear is fantastic and affordable to make kayak fishing even more fun. We thank all of the anglers who participated and their family and friends who watched the event live on the iAngler Tournament Network, and all of our sponsors for all that they do. We invite you to visit them on our Sponsors page of our website at www.KayakFishingClassicS.com Please let them know that you appreciate their efforts and products.
We also would like to invite you to stop in and enjoy some great eats at the Sandy Hook Fish & Ribs on Matlacha and say hello for us.
Our next open tournament before our invitational national championship is on September 19th. The Weedon Island Classic is always a blast and good fishing. Our Johnson Outdoors Open will be held from November 13 thru 15th which is an open to all 3 day slam tournament.
Congratulations and thank you all for making the Matlacha Classic another great, fun event. See you on the water…