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The Ninth Annual Captain Mel Classic is on May 18, 2019

This is an all-amateur, all-lure catch/photo/release charity event with the target species of trout and redfish; a bonus species “buy-in” (flounder) with the grand prize in each division based on the longest inches of each angler’s longest redfish and trout.  A $10 Overall Pool buy in as well.   “The Overall Pool” is a ten dollar buy-in where you compete with anglers in all five divisions.   Longest flounder in each division wins that money pot.  

The Classic has grown into one of the most well-liked fishing events in the Tampa Bay area.    It is the format.    You are not competing against professionals.    A true contest:   Everyone is using artificial lures.

The event is to honor the late Captain Mel Berman and benefits Suncoast Animal League.  There are five divisions:  Open, No Motor, Fly, Junior and Ladies.   There are prizes and cash payouts for the top finishers.     This is a cheap buy in to potentially win big.   

Members of the Berman family will be present.     They are very pleased with the web site and the tournament every year.   It will be great to have Mel’s son Ron at the event as well as everyone else from the Berman family he brings along.   

Entry fees are $30 for all divisions.   The Captain’s Meeting is on May 17 at the Fat Cat Tavern in Largo where anglers will receive their tournament materials.  The judging and awards is also at Fat Cat Tavern and anglers must check in before 2:30PM Saturday May 18 to be eligible to win.  

Tournament Format:

Trout and redfish:  The “longest” in each species per division and a “combined inches” one redfish/one trout “Grand Prize” category.   Cash payouts, prize payouts are going to be a percentage of entry fees for certain categories and selected prizes for others.   Trophies will be awarded to the top winner in each category in all divisions!   

Entry Fee All divisions:  $30.00.  For all divisions, a “Bonus” $5 buy-in for Flounder.  The longest flounder in each division wins the total money pool.  An “overall pool” option, $10 to enter, money payouts for redfish, trout and combined inches divided for winners who paid the $10 buy-in.  

Divisions: Open, No Motor, Fly, Ladies, Junior.   Anglers must select one division.    The $5 Flounder and $10 Overall are optional categories.

Lures:  Participating (non-Fly Division) anglers are going to receive
A MirrOLure; One bag of 12 Fathom lures; One Joe Jig; one Edje weedless jighead.   Anglers may also purchase and use product from our lure sponsors.

The Fly division, for the first time, is use your own flies.   So, there is no limit on entries.    Chuck is getting lots of the fly guys involved this year so that division should have an excellent turnout.   The Ladies division grow every year.    The past three years some of the most impressive fish caught were by the ladies.     The Junior division:  It would be great if that quadrupled.    I’m always surprised that we have so few kids entered.   Maybe this year that will be different.            

Check-in-Deadline on tournament day.   Post-fishing party, awards and raffle”- also at the Fat Cat Tavern.
Anglers must “check in” with their data card/camera by 2:30PM to qualify for a prize.   This rule is rigid: When the alarm sounds, if you are on site but not in line, you will not be in contention for any prizes.  Starting in 2015 we had the participants email in their photos, something that worked very well.    Please keep your measuring device with you for the awards banquet should the judges request to verify a board.

There will be a raffle for great donations made by tournament sponsors.   Donations are used for prizes for winners and all the extra donations go into the Raffle.   All the money raised in the raffle goes to the charity.  The charity is again The Suncoast Animal League.    

For more information, rules and sponsor information visit and click on “Captain Mel Classic” , or call 727-692-6345.

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