RUSKIN – If you’re into having fun on the water and catching some trout while you’re out there, you could win a big prize for landing the biggest fish.
The South Shore Anglers club will host the Aaron Ziemba 2014 Longest Trout Tournament March 14-15, and there are some sweet prizes up for grabs.
“This tournament is all about helping others,” said Steve Hoffman, event chairman. “Our entrance fee is only $25 to get as many people as possible to participate. Every cent will help buy sports equipment for special needs kids who play Buddy Ball.”
Buddyball.org’s home base is Apollo Beach.
“We have about 100 families with children from ages 5-22 with several different disabilities,” said Colette Stibeck, the group’s president. “We are going into our third season of baseball and also offer football and cheerleading in the fall. We like to stay very active in the community and keep our kids involved with many social/educational outings, as well.”
Stibeck said in addition to sports equipment, the money raised from the tourney with go towards purchasing trophies, medals and a possible afternoon out at a social event for the kids.
Now is a great time to fish for trout, said Capt. Jason Prieto of Steady Action Fishing Charters.
“The water temperatures are getting into the upper 60s, so trout are becoming more active,” he said. “The bigger ones will be in four- to six-foot grass flats, where they’ll be spawning.”
Prieto said good spots to try will be outside Cockroach Bay and “inside or outside the three-foot sand bar that runs parallel to the shoreline from Simmons Park to the (Sunshine) Skyway.”
The 309-member club sponsors four fishing tournaments each year, all benefiting some type of charitable cause. Since the group’s inception in September 2008, the South Shore Anglers have raised $100,000 in cash or in-kind donations for recipients throughout South Shore and Brandon. They’ve included the Bloomingdale Library attack survivor, A Kid’s Place in Brandon, a South Shore couple who lost their home to fire, Ruskin Big Give, Florida Diabetes Camp and the local 1 Voice Foundation.
The tourney will begin with a 7 p.m. captains meeting March 14 at the Sunset Grill at The Resort & Club at Little Harbor, 611 Destiny Drive, Ruskin. Fishing begins immediately after “by hook and line from anywhere in Tampa Bay,” Hoffman said, and continues until the 3 p.m. “weigh-in” at the Little Harbor Marina. Anglers will present photos of trout they caught and released during the tournament, and the winners will be determined solely by length. Last year’s champ caught a 27-inch beauty. Prizes include a $1,000 certificate for a power pole – a hydraulic anchoring system that stops a boat quickly and quietly; a $450 stainless steel fillet table; and a weekend package from the Dream Inn on Anna Maria Island, valued at $350.
Kids younger than 15 fish free, if they’re competing in the children’s division. Prizes usually include rod-and-reel kits; gift certificates and fishing-related items.
Last year 120 anglers competed. This year’s goal is 140 to 150.
So come out with the family, enjoy some great fishing and help families of kids who have special needs, Hoffman said.
“The price is right, and it’s all going to a good cause.”
For further information, visit southshoreanglers.com, email [email protected] or call (813) 545-9988.