The annual Save Rodman Reservoir bass tournament went off smoothly and impressively Saturday. The 148 teams entered brought in one of the best all-around results I can recall seeing, as weights stayed strong very far down the leaderboard. Consider these stats: Fifteen bass weighing at least 5-pounds were taken to the weigh scales at Kenwood Landing. And 70 (yes, seventy) teams weighed aggregate catches of at least 10-pounds.
It’s probable that more double-digit catches were caught…but after seeing that the required weight to earn a paycheck would be high, several teams undoubtedly took their day’s tally back out to the lake for a quick release. Sixty eight teams didn’t bother to weigh in their catches…but the 80 teams that did combined to put 377 fish averaging 2.88 pounds on the weigh scales.
The always dangerous and respected team of Lee Stalvey and Jason Caldwell came out on top this year with a 22.57-pound five-bass limit that included the best single fish of the day at 8.87. Right behind was the team of Charles Moody and Trey Jones, whose five Rodman bass totaled 21.97 pounds. Jim Coleman and Greg Lane finished in third place, exactly a pound behind with 20.97.
Fishing a small local lake Saturday morning with his dad, Matt and granddad, Wayne, young Connor Geiger caught a whopping bass. Casting a Zoom Super Fluke, the Keystone Heights nine year old hauled in an 8-plus-pound beauty … a fish that all of the Geiger men will remember fondly.
This week’s edition of the Lake Santa Fe Wednesday Night Open Trail again attracted a sizable field and produced several nice limits of bass. Thirty six teams braved a stout breeze, scattering around the lake to test their luck and skills. Following the three-hour contest, Shane Hendrix and Caleb Manning stood atop the heap, having filled a 5-bass limit that weighed 12.71 pounds. A 5.54-pound ‘big bass’ anchored the 11.20 limit taken by second-place finishers, Billy Reynauld, Sr. and Brad Lester.
By now it’s well known that both Spanish and king mackerel are in good supply off all of our nearest gulf ports. But a too-stiff-for-most wind kept weekend mackerel catches to a minimum. Saturday, Robert and Jennifer Hart headed offshore from Steinhatchee anyway, hoping to find a fish-catching window of opportunity. Their stops—some on spots as deep as 65 feet—produced lots of sea bass, grunts, and red snapper, but nothing of size. Then late in the day, the wind eased up a bit and the window opened. In water 40 feet deep, the Harts found their primary targets. In a 45-minute span between 4:30 and 5:15, they pulled in 7 smallish kingfish up to 35 inches. During the feeding flurry, the kings were biting so fast the angling couple “didn’t have time to get a second trolling line out”.
Saturday, the 3rd Annual Kim Smith Memorial Reeling for Rescues fishing tournament went out of Steinhatchee. Although a pesky wind likely reduced catches, some impressive ones were taken to the weigh scales at Sea Hag Marina. Gainesville angler Dan Rhine finished atop the Trout Division with a nice 4.3-pound specimen. Nate Kicklighter of Melrose and Cameron Adams of Keystone Heights docked with the winning redfish…and the best fishing story. With weigh-in at 3:00, Kicklighter and Adams were running out of time when they stopped near the river mouth at 2:43 for a couple more casts. And, on the last cast of the day, Nathan’s topwater lure was crushed by the 26.75-inch red that would weigh 7.5-pounds.
On Saturday the 29th one of favorite gulf tournaments, the 13th Annual Trout Tournament benefiting Shands Children’s Hospital will go off at Steinhatchee. This well-run event usually attracts around 100 teams and will feature Big Trout, Big Redfish, 5-Fish Aggregate Trout, and Kids categories. Visit FishingforKids.org or call 352-265-7237 for more.