There were 15 releases during the three hours the kids were on the water on May 25 in Boca Grande Pass. In first place was Capt. Waylon Mills’ team aboard Blaze, with anglers Marshall Locke, 11, Madison McCorkle,12 and Gauge McCorkle, 9.
Second place went to Capt. Wayne Joiner’s team aboard the Hey, Moma! with anglers Maxwell Fish, 12, Paul Fish, 9 and Georgia Fish, 12.
Third place went to Capt.Babe Darna’s team aboard the Sea Hawk for the last fish released, with anglers Brianna Darna, 13, Brandon Darna, 12 and Elizabeth Schum, 11.
All first place anglers received trophies and Apple iPads, while Capt. Mills received $3,000 in cash.
Second place anglers received GoPro Hero action video cameras, while Capt. Joiner received $2,000 in cash.
Third place anglers received Kindle e-Readers, while Capt. Darna received $1,000 in cash.View More images >>
The “1st Girl” release prize, a sterling silver link charm tarpon bracelet (courtesy of Salt Tales Jewelry by Angie Mills) went to Georgia Fish. The “1st Boy” release prize, a Back Country spinning rod and reel, complete with a tackle box (provided by Fishermen’s Edge Tackle), went to Jacob.
The “1st captain” release prize, a YETI cooler contributed by The Barnichol, went to Capt. Willie Mills aboard the Tracy Lynn.
Capt. Waylon Mills donated $1,000 of his prize money back to the charities the tournament benefited, the “Families First” program at Moffitt Cancer Institute and the music therapy program at All Children’s Hospital.
In total, each charity received $13,500 from the tournament proceeds. All prizes and prize money were contributed to the tournament, so that 100 percent of the entry fees could be donated.
“You have no idea how this is helping the children and families affected by cancer,” said Sonia Cerundolo, a representative from Moffitt Cancer Center’s Families First program, as she took the check.
Taylor Traviesa, a spokesperson for All Children’s Hospital music therapy program, agreed.
“It was so awesome to be involved in this event,” she said. “Our program helps kids cope with illness by singing and writing songs, and this donation is so much more special because it’s kids helping other kids.”
The tournament, sponsored by Yellowfin Yachts, was broadcast live by Lew Hastings, the executive director of the Boca Grande Area Chamber of Commerce, on Englewood radio station WENG, and it was filmed for a nationwide release on Thanksgiving Day on the World Fishing Network Channel. Professional bass anglers Brent Chapman, Bobby Lane, Randy Howell and Aaron Martens were on hand not only to help out at the tournament, but some of their kids fished in the event as well.
Capt. Sandy Melvin, owner of Gasparilla Outfitters and one of the three key players in Boca Grande Charities, said he was more than pleased with this year’s event.
“I’m very proud of all the anglers and the captains in raising $27,000 for charity,” he said. “Everybody had a great time, and it was a really tight tournament, especially at the end. We had several fish on when 7 p.m. rolled around, so it was touch-and-go as to who that third place team would be.
“I particularly want to thank not only the sponsors and volunteers who made the event so successful, but the three bass pros for coming here and helping out. They are professional, very well-known people who make a big impact in this country’s fishing industry, and now they can’t stop talking about how wonderful Boca Grande is.
“We’re coming back next year, bigger and better.”
Complete release results from the tournament included:
Tracy Lynn, 4:46, angler Jacob NewcombBlaze, 5:19, angler Marshall LockeJill Marie, 5:49, Luke CrosserSpook, 6:01, Sebastian TorresDylan Marie, 6:10, Taylor HaynesHey, Moma!, 6:26, Max FishBoca Blue, 6:23, Matt WaterhouseCasuarina, 6:27, Wyatt SteyerBlaze, 6:54, Gage McCorkleHey, Moma!, 7:14, Georgia FishBoca Blue, 7:22, Jack WaterhouseHitalin, 7:33, Flynn StewartReel Boca, 7:17, Brett DumasLittle Spook, 7:29, Quinn WillsSea Hawk, 7:28, Brandon Darna
The average release time during the tournament was 10 minutes, 30 seconds.
For more pictures from the Gasparilla Island Kids Classic go to bocabeacon.com and click on “media.”
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