As 2017 comes to an end I would like to highlight some of the events I have featured in my column. Near the end of the this column is an email where you can send me your fishing photos. I have the capability to upload fishing pictures to the site, so next year I expect to be flooded with your fishing photos to post.
The Toho Marine Wednesday Night tournaments kicked off their eight-month long season in March and the winners of the first tournament were two young ladies, Makenzie and Britney with just three fish and 11.42 pounds. Fast forward to November for the Wednesday Night Classic Tournament. The big winners were Jerrod Abright and Paul Walker with five fish and 17.92 pounds. Denali Rods also stepped up this year and provided an Attax Series Rod every month to the angler with the big fish.
In May we had the Toho Big Fish Blast sponsored by the Kissimmee Chamber of Commerce. There were over 100 participants. That tournament was won by John Stahl, only due to the overall winner not passing a required polygraph test. John’s 8.17-pound Trophy Catch won him the $2,000 jackpot.
The Help Our Heroes tournament was held in June out of Joe Overstreet ramp and not the lakefront this year. This tournament has raised close to $50,000 in the four years Toho Marine and Outdoors of St. Cloud has been hosting it. I attended this event and I have to say the raffle prizes alone are worth attending the weigh in for. Close to $10,000 in fishing equipment and gear for any angler. The winning team was Russ and Micah walking away with $6,000.
In July the Kissimmee Lakefront was the scene for the ICAST Cup. This is not an open tournament, but an opportunity for media and those in the fishing industry to fish along side Professional Anglers in a three-hour tournament. The winner received a trophy and bragging rights for the year. I had the pleasure of fishing with Central Florida’s own John Cox and Bob McKamey from Mud Hole Tackle.
September we were hit with Hurricane Irma and she did some damage to our boat basin. The ramps were closed for almost a week and still to this day there is sidewalk damage leading out to the pier causing them to have been closed all this time.
In November the Kissimmee Police Department hosted the first annual Cops and Bobbers, Hooks and Ladders event. Kids were welcome to come fish with our community’s officers and fire rescue.
The Toho Marine Elite One Man Series Championship was held on Lake Okeechobee in late November and the winner was Mark Lundgren of St. Cloud. Mark also finished the season as the series Angler of the Year for the second year in a row.
A few weeks ago, St. Cloud native Geoffrey Wells had his 13-pound Florida Trophy Catch bass entered into the program’s Hall of Fame, was recognized at a ceremony at the Orlando Bass Pro Shops and given a replica of his catch.
The B.A.S.S. Southern Open returns to West Lake Toho the first weekend of February. Be sure to mark your calendars.
It has been an honor sharing The Reel Deal with you for the past year and a half. This year the Osceola News-Gazette blessed me with my own page on their website www.aroundosceola.com/fishing so non-local readers can keep up with all the latest stories. Email your stories and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you again for your support over the year and may your 2018 be full of big fish and memories. Tight Lines, friends, and Happy New Year!