The Reel Deal: Don’t forget to use personal flotation devices

Len Tyre and Carrot show off their tournament-winning catch.

Len Tyre and Carrot show off their tournament-winning catch.

By Cindy Joint

The Wednesday Night Toho Marine shoot outs on West Lake Toho have been seeing some impressive numbers at weigh-in for just a few hours of evening fishing.

At the April 19 tournament, the largest sack since the season started was brought in by Len Tyre and his partner, Carrot, at 26.70 pounds was enough to take home the jack pot.

Behind them was Kip Grunloh, fishing solo, and the winner of the tournament two weeks ago with 17.95 pounds. And last but not least in third place with 17.84 pounds was the duo of Eric and Evan. The big fish of the night was caught by the team of Ross and Jason, a Trophy Catch of 9.14 pounds!

Remember, these tournaments are open to anyone, and you don’t have to have a partner. The entry fee is $30. Be at the boat ramp and ready for the 5 p.m. launch. Weigh-in starts at 8:30 p.m.

At a recent night tournament here at the lakefront, a gentleman had a mishap and fell into the marina upon exiting the boat. He was not wearing a personal flotation device (PFD) because he was already done boating and felt he didn’t need to. Fortunately he was OK, just wet and cold.

About a year ago the city of Kissimmee posted signs and created signs at the front of each ramp indicating that area is a life jacket zone.

National Boating Safety week is coming up May 20-28. I thought this would be a good time to remind all watercraft users of the importance of a PFD such as a life vest or jacket and how to choose the best one for your needs

A PFD gives you more buoyancy to stay afloat. Buoyancy is the force (in pounds) required to keep a persons head and chin afloat.

Most adults need an extra 7 to 12 pounds of buoyancy. Florida Boating Regulations require all watercraft to have a Coast Guard approved PFD per person plus at least one Type IV throwable device on any vessels 16 feet in length or longer. They must be properly sized for the wearer, readily accessible and in good condition.

The most commonly used PFD is a Type III, ski vest style or one that automatically inflates. For adults, your chest size, not your weight, determine what size is right. For children, weight will determine the size. If the automatic inflatable style is your preference, be sure to check for a green service indicator before every outing. Green means the CO2 canister is charged and a bobbin is in place.

Tournament anglers are required to wear their PFD’s when the outboard is in operation.

If an angler chooses to wear the automatic inflatable style PFD, he or she must wear their vest at all times. The inflatable are more comfortable and gives the angler more mobility while fishing.

I took a small survey amongst some angler friends and most of them prefer the traditional Mustang brand Ski Vest style over an inflatable. The most important advice about PFDs that I can leave you with is this: Be sure to wear one, especially if you go out on the water alone.

… Space Coast report with Captain Brian Pounds: The South Mosquito Lagoon is on fire! Numerous schools of Reds and Black Drum are roaming the flats along with huge Trout! Key is finding finger mullet pods moving in for the early summer bait run.

Best baits for Black Drum are 3-inch white Gulp shrimp or live shrimp. For the Reds and Trout cut mullet or the Mirror Lure Lil John in a red or apricot gold flake.

… The Help our Heroes Bass Fishing Tournament hosted by Toho Marine and Outdoors of St. Cloud is scheduled for June 3 out of the Overstreet Ramp on Lake Kissimmee. Registration is $175 per boat and you must register by May 26. No late entries accepted. Don’t miss out, $10,000 is up for grabs.

This event was previously going to be held out of The Marina on Lake Toho in Kissimmee so please note the change of venue.

Enjoy your last weekend in April and Tight Lines!