Last month a couple of kayak anglers came together to host a tournament which would give back to the community and remember a lost family member. After some deliberation, the Inaugural Netti Kayak Challenge was born. Catherine Longmire participated in the NKC, and shares with us her experience at this great tournament.
As an avid kayak angler, I jumped at the opportunity to fish and sponsor The Netti Kayak Challenge – NKC. Cancer has struck my family and taken many from me so it meant a lot to be able to be a part of this new benefit tournament. This wasn’t just a tournament were the money was being donated to helping find a cure or research, this tournament helped an actual local family. Julia Petersen had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and this tournament would directly benefit Julia. She and her family were there for the tournament and it was a blessing to know we were all there to help her raise money for her fight.
With a new tournament, one could come to expect some issues arising, especially one that was hastily put together in just a short time. The tournament directors (Donnie Leeper, Anna Crowder, and Tammy Montgomery) did an amazing job at not only organizing the tournament, but also with ensuring that everything proceeded very smoothly. This was the very first kayak tournament these amazing people stepped up to put together and they sure did create an event that will happen annually and benefit a new family each year. The goal of the inaugural Netti Kayak Challenge was to raise $1000 and get 25 anglers to sign up. That goal was literally blown out of the water by the support of our kayak fishing community. The Netti Kayak Challenge fielded 79 anglers, 12 of which were lady anglers, and a total of $8,183 was raised to benefit and support Julia and her family.
It was truly amazing to see so many people come out to support this new benefit tournament. Friday night kicked off the tournament and it wasn’t the typical captains meeting where you register and grab your captains bag then head home. The Netti Kayak Challenge had a huge shrimp boil and they couldn’t stop filling plates and making people come back for more! They even sent leftovers home with anyone that would take some. It was a great night just hanging out with fellow kayak anglers, talking fishing stories, and talking fishing plans and trips. It wasn’t like a captains meeting, it was more like a kayak community reunion with lots of smiles, love, and laughs.
Saturday morning, we all hit the water bright and early in hopes to find those big fish! The weather was amazing; the sun was shining and the wind wasn’t blowing hard so it was nice. There were around 10 anglers that launched in the same area as I did and some found some great fish. I, on the other hand, didn’t fare so well. I only landed two flounder, one at 14inches and one at 15inches, but it was still a blast being on the water supporting such a great charity tournament. After being on the water all day, I headed back to the weigh in. It was like a party with tacos being served in the parking lot by the crew from Wassi’s Meat Market on their Big Green Egg. Then inside they were serving pulled pork, baked beans, coleslaw, corn on the cobb, banana and chocolate pudding and once again sending leftovers home with anyone willing to take some!
Now let’s talk raffles since we all LOVE raffles… This was the first tournament I have seen where they bundled items to build packages to be at least valued starting at $100. What made the inaugural Netti Kayak Challenge raffles great was each package had it’s own bucket. Participants could choose where to put their raffle tickets, thereby upping their chances at winning certain items. This meant you got to buy your tickets and choose what you wanted to put your tickets in on to hope to win! This by far was the best for the public and seemed to raise even more money than normal. There were also many amazing companies that helped with their donations for this raffle. It was amazing to see the support from both the kayak fishing community as well as the fishing industry to come together to support a noble cause.
The inaugural Netti Kayak Challenge also featured a very unique format, giving anglers multiple opportunities to place in each category. Anglers could place in the redfish division, trout division, and flounder division, meaning more trophies and cash to take home! Some anglers were fortunate enough to place in multiple divisions, and there were some amazing fish caught during the inaugural Netti Kayak Challenge. In total, anglers took home $3,250.00 in prize money. Even more amazing is that the tournament directors were able to bring on sponsors for each division who put up the winnings. This meant the NKC was able to use the money raised for the tournament solely to benefit Julia and her family.
Inaugural Netti Kayak Challenge Winners
1st Place – Matt Embree 42.25″
2nd Place – Travis Goodale 41.25″
3rd Place – Nick Odle 38.25″
4th Place – Derek Bentley 38″
5th Place – David Allen 36″
1st Place – Fred Franz 22.25″
2nd Place – Derek Bentley 20.5″
3rd Place – Steve Bond 19.25″
4th Place – Shane Garner 18.75″
5th Place – Chase Crews 18″
1st Place – John Dougherty 26.25″
2nd Place – Steve Bond 24.5″
3rd Place – John Chapman 23.25″
4th Place – Daniel Holmes 22.5″
5th Place – Dustin Martinson 22.25″
Lady Angler Division
1st Place – Beckie Lewis
2nd Place – Terri Higgs
3rd Place – Tobi Browning
Pink Lure – First Checked In Justin Leeper
Pink Lure – Largest Steve Stubbs – 26.00″
Dink Slam Shane Garner – 37.25″
While not everyone can win in a tournament, I truly felt as though all who participated won during this event. Many came together to promote Breast Cancer Awareness month by wearing pink shirts, or only using pink lures. Many had a little extra fun by wearing a bra over their fishing shirts. Call me old fashioned, but there’s something hilarious about a grown man wearing a bra. The inaugural Netti Kayak Challenge was an amazing success. Many local and out of town kayak anglers came together for a weekend of fun, but also to support awareness of an ugly disease and show one amazing woman and her family what the kayak community truly represents. Many are already geared up and excited for the next installment of the Netti Kayak Challenge, including myself. I highly recommend making the trip to Jacksonville, Florida for next year’s Netti Kayak Challenge. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed!
About the Author
Catherine Longmire was born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida. She grew up playing around with bass fishing but quickly grew to love saltwater kayak fishing out of her Native Slayer Propel 13. Catherine has also started off fast placing in 3 of the 5 kayak fishing tournaments she has entered, including 1st place finishes in the El Cheapo, Inshore Xtreme Challenge, and Jacksonville Premiere Trout Tournament. Catherine hopes to continue growing in the sport of kayak fishing, especially promoting lady anglers.
PADDLEexpo: Coolest Product of the Show 2016 Award Next Post:
DukNutz: Kayak Duck Hunting Gear