For 15 years, C-Quarters Marina in Carrabelle has been hosting its annual youth fishing tournament, and kids from both near and far have flocked to it.
Last Saturday was no different, as 176 young people entered, and a whole mess of them came away with trophies.
Raina Chisholm and her cousin Hannah Gray didn’t win one, but they sure had a good time, and each of their crews caught lots of fish.
Raina went out in the morning in a three-seater kayak with her stepdad Ricardo Rivera and her cousin Jay Fedd, while her very pregnant mom Nikki Keith watched from the Lanark shore, off Connecticut Street.
Fedd caught a 16-inch trout, and the whole crew brought in seven catfish and six croaker between them, even enduring one time when they capsized.
Gray went out on a different excursion, with her mom and dad, her 5-year-old brother River and 16-year-old Layla, and they managed seven catfish and three croaker, plus almost but not quite landing what they thought was a 50-pound drum. “It was pulling the boat with the anchor down,” said Keith. “But the line snapped.”
Trista and Briar Wheeler, twin 5-year-olds, went out with parents Thorne and Tanja Wheeler, of Carrabelle, off a boat right outside the channel. Trista caught a 4.74-pound catfish, good enough for second place in that category, but her tad younger brother came away empty-handed. Nonetheless, it was he who clutched tighter and longer the trophy as the twins pitched rocks in the water off the C-Quarters dock.
“We caught a hammerhead today too,” said mom. “But we had to throw him back. You can’t keep no sharks.”
The tournament featured eight species of fish, with no sharks and no fish caught offshore eligible, even for the mystery fish, which this year was won by Alexis Nichols, who landed a 3.26-pound redfish.
The trophies were handed out by C-Quarters owner Jimmie Crowder and tournament organizer Mary Lawhon.
Cody Abercrombie took first in the only entry for Spanish mackerel, landing a 1.26-pound specimen.
For pinfish, Kloie Douglas was first, with 0.26 pounds, Kaden Freeman second with 0.25 pounds, and Shianne Shaw third with a 0.24-pounder.
Nichols took the top prize in flounder, with a 1.96-pounder, ahead of runner-up Charleigh Jones, who brought in one weighing 0.68 pounds.
First place in croaker went to Devin Wood, with one weighing 1.18 pounds, while second place Jamis Bowden caught a 0.84-pounder, and third place Stanley Douglas brought in one weighing 0.78 pounds.
Jaclyn Thompson’s 1-pound sea bass was good enough to win that category, while Sawyer Bodiford was second with one weighing 0.94 pounds, and Jet Griffis third, with a 0.86-pounder.
For lady fish, the winner was Wyatt Abercrombie, who landed one weighing 1.12 pounds, ahead of runner-up Jude McLeod’s 0.86-pounder and Jacythan Thompson’s 0.92-pound third place entry.
Trista Wheeler’s second place catfish was just behind winner Clint Litton’s 5.26-pounder, and ahead of third place Khrissa Litton’s 4.64-pounder.
In trout, Ava Fehring took top price with a 2.14-pounder, while Arabelle Oxendine was second, with one weighing 2.10 pounds and Chloe Segelke third, with a 1.52-pounder.
On Friday evening, the children attended a mandatory fishing clinic taught by the Millard Collins, dockmaster of C-Quarters Marina. There they learned how to tie knots and hooks, and overall safety while fishing. At the completion of the clinic, each received a rod and reel, furnished by FishFloridatag.org, plus a tee shirt, hat, and bait.
Sponsors for the event included 2 Brothers Restaurant, Amy’s Promos, Backyard Boat Works, Carrabelle Corner, Carrabelle IGA, Carrabelle Junction, Carrabelle Postmaster, Centennial Bank, Coastal Edge Salon & Spa, Coastal Realty, Dealers Choice, Eli’s Seafood, First Baptist Church of Carrabelle, The Fisherman’s Wife – Carrabelle, Florida Tees, Franklin Inn, Gander’s Hardware. Hair Spray Salon, Alvin and Marolyn Howard. J & R Creations – Marianna, Jackson Ace Hardware. Jackson Farms – Cordele, Georgia, James Hayman, Jimmy Blanton, John’s Hauling, Lanark Market, Lanark Village Boat Club, Lawhon Family, Matt’s Small Engine Repair, Memory of Millard’s Sam, Merrell Automotive, Nice Car of Forgotten Coast, Norm’s Lawn Service, Panhandle Golf Carts LLC, Paul & Son Plumbing, Pocket Change Vending LLC, Premier Pools of Tallahassee, Sandy Beach Properties, Sons of the American legion, Terry’s Pools – Tallahassee, The Moorings of Carrabelle, TowBoat US – Carrabelle/St. Marks, Turnkey of Carrabelle, Two Gulls – Four Locations, and WalMart – Crawfordville.