Extreme Kayak Fishing Inc. is an offshore kayak fishing tournament series based out of Pompano Beach FL, and recently held their Extreme Kayak Fishing Summer Slam, Part II tournament. Extreme Kayak Fishing, Inc. also supports The Broward Children’s Center, who are committed to providing the very best quality of care to infants, children, and young adults with special healthcare needs.
It was a calm, perfect morning in Pompano Beach, Florida on August 16th as anglers kick started their day with coffee and doughnuts provided by Dandee Doughnuts. The sun slowly crept over the horizon while each angler grabbed their kayak and ran to the water’s edge. The fishermen geared up their equipment and many used Yak Gear kayak accessories to get ready. The sight of 108 kayak anglers hitting the surf at the same time easily resembles a traffic jam during rush hour on I-95. The surf forces anglers to crash into each other except for the lucky few that make it through the breakers unscathed. All the onlookers standing on the Pompano Pier can feel the energy and excitement in the air as the speakers blasted AC/DC just as the anglers faded off in the distance.
After the fishermen drifted off into the deep blue, the Extreme team went to work to put on a day filled with fun and festivities. As the vendors started to erect their tents around the stage, the band, Behind the Houses, plays some lively music to draw beachgoers to the event. As the day progressed and the crowd grew, Zona Fresca arrived with free food which included some amazing fresh and cold ceviche, and to wash that down Saltwater Brewery kept everyone feeling happy with free beer. To add to the festivities, the Sunshine SUP Series Race had their competition going on in full force with the best racers in the world competing for the crown. “There is never a shortage of sunshine and fun at this event” said Paul Kabalin from Engel Coolers, a proud sponsor of the Extreme Tournament series.
Now let’s rewind to just after the anglers launched. The airwaves were filled with trash talk as anglers joked about who would catch the winning fish. Next thing we know the first reports of a “fish on” come across the VHF radio just a mere 45 minutes after the anglers hit the water. “Sailfish on” was the phrase that stuck out from all the other commotions on the radios. Immediately the camera boat requests the angler’s position and guns it toward the tail walking Sailfish. Once the camera boat arrives on scene, Jorge Bustamonte jumps in the water with his camera for the underwater footage and an Arial drone operated by Alex Dolce takes off from the boat to get some actions shots from above. The Extreme team had every angle covered to ensure the public could see what each angler experiences on a kayak when fighting a big fish.
30 minutes later the first Sail was successfully landed and released by Joe Kraatz putting him on the leaderboard early and securing the Billfish division. Over the next two hours the help boats were inundated with calls to pick up fish from numerous anglers, one can only imagine the help boats fuel bill after racing up and down the coast to pick up each anglers fish and get them on ice. After the morning madness started to die down it was evident that the early bite was fading away. The day was passing and the anglers were doing everything imaginable to get a bite before having to head west and make their way to the beach for the 2pm cut-off. A select few anglers felt confident in what they had caught, and for others their faith was slowly drifting away. Something would have to change quickly for the anglers that went unsuccessful up until this point.
Then out of nowhere all hell broke loose, Justin Moody crackles through the radio yelling something about a monster Wahoo. Instantly the airwave came to life with anglers asking for confirmation if a wahoo was hooked up. Justin replies “I hooked a massive wahoo, he surfaced and I could see stripes”. Once again the help boats raced to Justin’s side to capture what turned out to be the largest wahoo caught in the tournament’s history. After landing the fish, Justin’s screams of excitement could be heard from miles away. That was all the confirmation the other anglers needed to know the fish was in his kayak.
This massive wahoo would have been a great way to end an already amazing tournament, but the anglers were not done with their surprises. No sooner than Justin got his wahoo on ice, there were reports of a 40-50lb Cobia on angler John Sims’ line. There was yet to be a cobia caught in any Extreme Tournament and even if there were previous cobia caught, this fish would have put them to shame. “The dream of a lifetime” was the words coming from John Sims who landed himself in 3rd place with this one fish.
The crowd gathered around the stage and there was no shortage of jaw dropping. Before the big weigh-in there was one important announcement to make, Spencer Milligan from Nautical Ventures made his way on stage to present Brian Nelli with the first ever Extreme Championship Ring. Nelli earned this amazing ring for being the champion in the “Battle in the Bahamas” tournament back in April 2014. This awesome prize was brought to you by Nautical Ventures and Turbo USA.
Now it was time for the champagne showers while the winners were announced for the biggest weigh-in Extreme had ever seen:
Jack Daughtry from Maryland took first place winning $3,500.00 from Turbo USA, Cup from Broward Plaque & Engraving & a custom Adrenaline Extreme Rod made by Adrenaline Fishing Custom Rods with his two Kings totaling an astonishing weight of 51.7lbs. Second place goes to Joe Kraatz, he wins $1,500.00 from Nissan, a Hobie Outback from Nautical Ventures, & a plaque from Global Fish Mounts. His 2 Kings hit the scale at 47.8lbs. John Sims grabbed third place with the tournament’s first Cobia winning a Hobie Revo from Nautical Ventures & $500.00 from Brus Room as well as a pair of COSTA sunglasses. His massive Cobia weighed in at 46.3lbs. Carl Torresson wins fourth place with his 2 Kings weighing 44.4lbs he won a plaque from Global Fish Mounts, $200.00 from Turbo USA & COSTA sunglasses. Justin Moody nets fifth place with his 36.7lb wahoo. He won the wahoo division and took home a custom wahoo mount from Global Fish Mounts, a combo rod reel, and COSTA sunglasses. He also won the biggest Pelagic Division winning a beautiful Guy Harvey Jewelry Necklace & Custom Trophy made by Global Fish Mounts. Hunter Irvine takes top junior angler for the 3rd straight tourney with his 11.9lbs Kingfish! He wins $ 150 & a plaque from Broward Plaque & Engraving. Joe Kraatz was the first angler to catch & release his sailfish. He wins a free entry to the 2015 Sailfish Smack Down & a sailfish plaque by Global Fish Mounts. John McKroid took home the Trash Can Slam division with his big 25lb Cuda and wins COSTA sunglasses & a custom trash can mount from Global Fish Mounts. Rob Rodriguez took the Wreck the Weight division with his monster AJ winning a custom EXTREME rod made by Adrenaline Fishing Custom Rods. Last but not least Jon Cunningham won the Kingfish Calcutta with his 32.4 Kingfish he was stoked to receive $2100 cash!
A big shout out to Joe Settebrino from Hillsboro Live Bait; he was a crucial part of the tournament’s enormous success. Without Settebrino’s dedication to the tournament, anglers would not have had the opportunity to have live goggle eyes, blue runners, and pilchards delivered to them out on the water in a moment’s notice. Also a big thank you to Lu with Lucky Lu’s Charters for providing assistance to all the anglers on his help boat.
When speaking with Settebrino after the tournament, he was astonished by the amount and size of the fish being caught, “This kayak tournament had a weigh in comparable to some of the big boat tournaments in the area”.