The 2016 event is now in the books.
We always want to take time to thank our sponsors and remind everyone all year long what they do for us for this one day every year.
Donations were a record. Participation was down a little from past years. We had 100 anglers. This year’s obstacle? Mother’s Day. I didn’t foresee that one. It is always something. It was the best group of participants we have ever had. “Neil, you sure do attract the best of the best” was the comment from someone who had not been able to attend in years past for various reasons. He was right: We assembled a great set of people for this year’s Classic.
Standard donations expanded by our longtime sponsors. Strong donations by everyone else, I had to lump things together to get through the raffle so we weren’t there until midnight. All of the sponsors are listed below. Some notes on individual sponsors included first.
For like the fourth year in a row, a money donation from The Adventurous Woman. No other club supports the event like they do. We are pleased to have many of their members participate: And also staff my event. Carolyn Edds runs the computer program to process winners. She got Brenda Burger to assist this year. Maura and Brenda authorized a great donation that went to pay some expenses but also went to the chaity.
Our lure sponsors: Exactly the same all five years. Mirrolure, 12 Fathom, Joe Hebert Fishing: Strong donations matching previous years. 12 Fathom in particular: My trips over to the factory all year, I got the Plano boxes and built the lure kits. These went to our winners and a whole bunch into the raffle. 12 Fathom/Producto, very generous supporters of the Captain Mel Classic.
The Grand Prize kayak was donated by Strike Three Kayak Fishing. One month out, our donating company backed out. I had it to give, so I did it. The boat, a new Slayer 14.5, going to be the new boat for our Grand Prize winner’s son. Continuing a tradition: People who win our boats, keep the boats. Built into the design of this event.
Werner Paddle with an expensive paddle donation AGAIN. Thank you Danny Mongno for support our event and being a part of the radio show/website! This was the second place Grand Prize in the No Motor division.
Russ at Stick-It Anchor pin: Eight pins donated. As usual a huge donation from Russ that really added to our event. He has been a great supporter every single year. Another company with an incredible product.
The Fish Grip: We did not hear from them this year. But they donated so much all the other years, I wanted to leave them on the list.
Luther at Yak Attack authorized another great donation that we used for our No Motor division winners. Innovators, Yak Attack has great stuff and is always looking at new ideas for great kayak fishing accessories.
Micah at Kayracks.com donated two racks. Third place grand prize and one for the raffle won by judging station director Carolyn Edds. A Safety Harbor company, if you need any welded aluminum projects done, call Micah.
Smith Optics: Shon Lassiter set us up again. The sixth straight year that Smith has been an integral part of our event. We had four pair. Three to winners and one in the raffle turned into two for winners and two in the raffle. That is like the most exciting win in the raffle: Getting a new pair of Smith’s!!
Absolutely huge donation from the Scotty company. I would say that they are the Supersponsor for the No Motor division. They sent the most they ever have and it all landed with winners and leftovers for the raffle. People just loved getting their stuff We hope they will always be involved with our event since so many of our participants use so much of their stuff all the time.
Also spread out to every division and leftovers for the raffle lottery: Ted from Tuf-Line sent a lot of sample spools of braided line. Great company, great supporter of the Classic for many years! Thank you again Ted!
Pat at Sawyer Products sent me a great box of stuff. This company, local, supplies the military with sunscreen, bug spray and water filtration supplies. This is high end stuff. Available at Bill Jackson’s, make this stuff your everyday sunscreen!
Tackle Webs: Great donation again from Captain Michael Ortego. Another great gift idea, if you don’t own them yourself, you will. Michael, so busy with his stuff, I used the ones he gave to me and I will get more from him later. Tackle and Cooler webs are not only good for your use, these things should be high on your list for gift ideas.
St Croix sent a stack of hats. I requested that to make shipping easy. I will try to work with them earlier in 2017 and see if they can provide more rods for prize winners. We raffled off all the hats.
Jason attended the event representing Cutco. We thank him for his time. Those are great knives and cutlery.
Great donations from The 8th Avenue Pub (Safety Harbor); Sea Hags restaurant (St Pete Beach); Gift certicates for $25 for Sea Hags and 8th Avenue will be enjoyed by our winners.
Estrada art: Shirts, hats, decals and two beautiful prints for our winners and raffle! One redfish print and one permit print, the art added to our table for the event and should be in a lot of the photos.
An Aqua Dream lure pack from Captain Mike went to one of our lucky winners. I had some other Aqua Dream stuff lying around from two years ago that also went to our raffle winners.
Supporting the Ladies division, Kendall Albritton with Women of Water. Every participant received WOW stuff. The Adventurous Woman also donated some apparel.
Our two biggest sponsors backing the Junior division but spilling into the other division: Fishing Supply Liquidators and the Skyway Fishing Piers: Both six year sponsors of the event. FSL, a great place to buy rods, reels and tackle. The Skyway Piers will be open for at least ten more years and an easy place to catch some fish: A great destination to take visitors because no fishing license is required.
Not part of our tournament format (unscented lures only), we again had a donation from Pro Cure which we handed out after the event. They sent a great number of samples and some larger bottles that went to winners and into our raffle. Thank you!!
Support all of our sponsors! Let them know your experiences with the Captain Mel Classic!
12 Fathom: Craig Bayhi; A great bag of lures assembled for this year’s Classic
MirrOLure: Eric Bachnik selected a great topwater lure for this year’s event. He also threw in some extras like keychains.
Captain Joe The Edje; Joe Jig; Silly Willy: Joe Hebert set up a Joe Jig, Silly Willy and Edje.
Neil Taylor: Uncle Neil’s teasers by Neil Taylor
Event beneficiary: Suncoast Animal League: Lighter enrollment, we still got $1000 for the charity this year
Bill Jackson’s, Tampa Fishing Outfitters, Fishing Supply Liquidators. Bill Jackson’s let me buy flies for that division at a great discount. First place trout were caught on that Clouser. Darry Jackson handed me two great mugs that I placed as Fly division prizes. One was claimed, the other went into the raffle. Thank you Darry Jackson.
Tournament host site The Fat Cat Tavern, Bill Soleau. We are pleased to have this site for our event. The food and drinks were outstanding. Irony: Exactly zero members of the Fat Cat Tavern fishing club signed up for the event. Again, that’s all right. You would just figure that members of a club that meet at our location, they might get involved with this even if they are mostly baitchuckers. In 2017 I anticipate vast participation from the St Joseph Sound Fishing Club. This is an upstart organization with already a great base of members. They meet on the third Tuesday of every month in Crystal Beach. They are what fishing clubs should be all about. Cohesion. Friendship. They have set it up right.
The Seventh Annual Captain Mel Classic? How about April 22 or 29, 2017? We are getting other input from our participants. We may open up the boundaries one more county. We may change the format of the Fly Division. Small changes, the overall format of the Classic will remain the same.
Stick It anchor pins
Women of Water
Tuf Line Ted
The Fish Grip
Skyway Fishing Piers
The Adventurous Woman
Strike Three Kayak Fishing
Alex Berg Woodworkings
Tampa Bay Watch