Despite rainy weather, Carrabelle’s C-Quarters Marina marked the 10th anniversary Saturday of its annual youth fishing tournament in fine fashion.
More than 192 kids caught 111 fish, off docks, on the Carrabelle River and in the bay no further out than Dog Island, as excitement reigned despite the intermittent rain.
“This is what we weighed,” said tourney director Mary Lawhon. “There was many more fish than this.”
Tony Merrell from Merrell Automotive took out kids from his Sunday School class. Young fisherboys and fishergirls, under age 16, came from Hosford, Leesburg, Tallahassee, and Crawfordville, and all throughout Franklin County.
Joli Johnson caught her flounder on a hook and line off a shrimp boat in the river, and won a $25 gift certificate to C-Quarters for her efforts from James Hayman.
Tyler Grindstead landed his nice-sized speckled trout off his grandfather’s dock in Lanark Village. Bentley Parramore, the 3-year-old great-grandson of Alvin Howard, caught a 5.44-pount catfish to win the top prize in that category. “I’ve been teaching him fishing ever since he was about 1,” said Howard
“Some of the big fish weren’t caught on boats,” said Lawhon. “One kid caught a 10-pound sting ray. It wasn’t in a category, but we weigh it for them”
But not all kids could win when it came time for the trophies to be handed out
“We’ve never won,” said Abbi Fletcher, who brought her three boys, Wyatt, Morgan and Virgil, here for the fifth year.
“We haven’t had that luck yet. Last year we were within two ounces of (a winning) croaker,” she said. “I always tell ‘em, ‘Somebody’s got to lose.’”
Trophies were given out to the three top finishers in each category, unless a child would have won two, in which case he or she was given the higher placement.
“Some kids could have won three,” said C-Quarters’ dockmaster Millard Collins. He was assisted during the day by weighmaster Jim Chapman.
Also, if two kids had similar size fish, the first one in got the higher prize, provided they were in line by 4 p.m. Saturday.
“When it closes, it closes. We try to teach them fishing etiquette,” said Lawhon.
Friday night, at a captains meeting, all the youth were taught safety regulations at a required clinic, conducted by instructors Randy Jossey, Max Lawhon and Collins.
The class was required by the Fish Florida organization, which provided each child with a rod and reel, funded by a statewide fee on fishing licenses that goes to support youth fishing, and tournaments such as this.
Each child also got a visor, and a t-shirt, compliments of C-Quarters and a host of supporting businesses, from as far away as Tallahassee and Marianna, and a tote bag courtesy of TowBoat US, in Carrabelle
“I had a man come up and give me $100,” said Mary Lawhon
Right before the awards were given out, Collins stressed that every business in Carrabelle donated something, and that Wal-Mart in Crawfordville donated hot dogs and buns.
““Y’all want to do this next weekend?” he asked the crowd, which cheered out a triumphant ‘Yeah!”
Winston Chester, from Panhandle Outdoors, a popular TV show on Panama City’s Channel 10 and YouTube, also was on hand.
C-Quarters’ next big event is the 11th annual Kingfish Shootout the first weekend in August, with a guaranteed payout of $16,500.
1) Tristan Proctor 1.81 pounds
2) Demi Nichols 0.74 pounds
3) Marina Adams 0.68 pounds
1) Kloie Douglas 0.76 pounds
2) Jobin Thompson 0.70 pounds
3) Jaylynn Thompson 0.70 pounds
1) Joli Johnson 1.59 pounds
2) River Sheridan 0.68 pounds
1) Cade Brown 0.84 pounds
2) Courben Monroe 0.60 pounds
3) Laura Kate Brown 0.58 pounds
1) Tyler Grindstead 4.14 pounds
2) Hunter Pitts 1.72 pounds
3) Haven Johnson 1.68 pounds
1) Kaylan Jossey 0.70 pounds
2) Thiago Finuff 0.34 pounds
3) Austin Barrack 0.34 pounds
1) Bentley Parramore 5.44 pounds
2) Carson Murphy 5.26 pounds
3) Kyler Beebe 4.5 pounds
1) J.T. Mathes 0.92 pounds
2) Preston Thompson 0.86 pounds
3) Camryn Chittenden 0.84 pound