The 2015 Inshore Xtreme Challenge charity kayak fishing tournament kicked off on March 27th and 28th in Jacksonville, Florida. The Inshore Xtreme Challenge features a one of a kind format testing the skills of the angler, while providing a great atmosphere for its participants. Anglers from all over the southern United States embarked on Northeast Florida to test their kayak fishing skills and see if they had what it takes to win the Inshore Xtreme Challenge.
The format of the Inshore Xtreme Challenge is unique at best. It steers away from the conventional formats that kayak anglers are used to, and tests the anglers’ skills with a 3 species format. This isn’t your run of the mill kayak tournament where anglers can catch a bull red and get away with a dink trout, you’re going to have to prove your mettle in this format. Anglers are required to land 2 redfish, 6 trout, and 10 flounder. Where did this format derive? The Inshore Xtreme Challenge follows FWC (Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission) rules and regulations for keep and slot limits. The format also requires anglers to have a sound strategy, targeting all three species of inshore saltwater fish.
The Inshore Xtreme Challenge had 40 anglers from all over the state of Florida, as well as participants from Georgia, South Carolina, and Texas. These anglers were greeted with typical tournament weather, as a cold front pushed in across the area bringing with it rain, colder temps, and high winds. Mother Nature pitched in to truly make this year’s tournament an Inshore Xtreme Challenge.
The guiding purpose behind the Inshore Xtreme Challenge is to provide a quality, yet challenging format for kayak anglers to enjoy. The tournament directors, Kaycee & Tony Hart, wanted something different. They also wanted to provide a quality atmosphere where the angler, families, guests, and the community could enjoy themselves. It was also important for the angler to get a great “bang for their buck”, which included quality Captain’s Bags, great dinners, and amazing raffle packages. It was also important to raise awareness and support financially for a local charity. The Inshore Xtreme Challenge chose Combat2College as the partner for 2015. Combat2College is a non-profit organization who supports military veterans and their families with the transition of active duty to the classroom. Combat2College does this through a variety of means, including their Backpack Campaign and Textbook Assistance Program.
Friday night marked the Captain’s Meeting for the 2015 Inshore Xtreme Challenge. Tournament participants checked in and received their captain’s bags (valued between $160-$200), and enjoyed an amazing dinner from Tijuana Flats restaurant. After dinner, participants enjoyed a seminar from Jill Christoferson of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC). Participants were then given the rules of the tournament, and headed out to prepare for the fishing of the Inshore Xtreme Challenge.
Saturday morning, anglers were greeted with 40 degree weather and winds gusting upwards of 25mph. Anglers fished various locations throughout Northeast Florida, including Duval, Nassau, and St. Johns counties searching for the 18 fish limit of redfish, trout, and flounder. Fishing was tough at best with the high winds, which only made it feel colder than the advertised 40+ degree weather. Anglers toughed it out, only to be rewarded with some amazing catches. The Inshore Xtreme Challenge features a CPR (Catch, Photo, Release) format, meaning the anglers take a picture of their caught fish on an approved measuring device. As the anglers made their way back to the tournament weigh-in, it seemed as though everyone caught fish and avoided the dreaded skunk.
While the judges tallied the results of everyone’s catches, the participants, their families, and the community guests all enjoyed an amazing dinner from Longhorn Steakhouse. After dinner, tournament co-director, Kaycee Hart, along with her assistant (7yr old Linleigh) went about getting the raffles started. Each raffle prize had a retail value of between $150-$350 each. Once hearing their number called, the participants then had the opportunity to choose their prize. Once the general raffles were completed, the big raffles took place. The sponsors of the Inshore Xtreme Challenge are the best there is with their support for promoting great charities. The large raffles included a Power Pole Micro, Dragonfly 6 Fish Finder from Raymarine, Ocean Kayak Tetra 10 Angler, Elie Kayaks Gulf 120 kayak, and a Kahuna SUP from Kaku Kayaks.
Andrew Mixon of Vero Beach, Florida took 1st place with 237.25″ of fish caught. Andrew took home a great prize package including the 1st place plaque, a Cruise 12 Angler from Jackson Kayak, Salt Life Optics, a fish stringer from Stinky Pants Fishing, and a Backwater Paddle Company Assault Paddle.
Ryan Conner of Yulee, Florida took 2nd Place with 173.75″ of fish caught. Ryan took home a prize package that included the 2nd Place plaque, a Sarge Custom Rod, NRS Chinook PFD, Stinky Pants Fishing stringer, Salt Life Optics, and a Backwater Paddle Company Assault Paddle.
Matt Embree of Jacksonville, FL took 3rd place with 145.5″ of fish caught. Matt took home a prize package which included the 3rd Place plaque, a Platinum Series casting rod from Manley Rods, Salt Life Optics, Stinky Pants Fishing stringer, and a Backwater Paddle Company Assault paddle.
Jeff Altman of Jacksonville, FL took 4th place with 134.5″ of fish caught. Rich took home a prize package which included a Gold Series casting rod from Manley Rods, Salt Life Optics, Stinky Pants Fishing stringer, and Backwater Paddle Company Assault Paddle.
Rich Altman of Jacksonville, FL rounded out the top 5 with 134″ of fish caught. Rich took home the 5th Place plaque, a fishing rod from Daiwa Rods, Salt Life Optics, Stinky Pants Fishing stringer, and Backwater Paddle Company Assault Paddle.
We want to thank everyone who came out to support the Inshore Xtreme Challenge and Combat2College. Many thanks to all of our wonderful sponsors, without you we could never achieve any sort of success. We had a blast at the 2015 Inshore Xtreme Challenge, and look forward to seeing everyone at next year’s event!