16 Year Old Takes the Paradise Bay Flounder Tournament

 

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The line of anglers watching the scales and waiting their turn.

Despite the gnarly weekend weather the Paradise Bay Flounder Tournament was a go and people went.  I saw several friends at the scales on Saturday and asked how it was out there.  “We fished till about 11 am then went home, got lunch, and came here to weigh in our fish.  It was right snotty out there.”   A few anglers stayed out the whole day, but only the bigger boats.  If you were in a small boat it was just too rough.  Despite the bad weather there were fish caught and brought to the scales.

Even if anglers didn’t place on the board they would weigh in fish for the calcutta.  Knowing you wouldn’t place didn’t stop anyone from weighing in a flounder on Saturday.  Sunday that fish could up their calcutta total at the next weigh in.  In any multi day tournament with a weight calcutta you always enter your largest fish despite it not making the board.

 

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Crowded bar watching the scales

Sunday the weather was much better and the water a lot calmer than Saturday.  There were a lot more boats on the inland bays with anglers wearing green T-shirts.  The scales opened at 4 PM and lines had to be in by 5 PM.  The scales would close at 6 PM.  The crowd was heavy on Sunday to watch the action at the scales.  It is exciting to see people bring big fish to the scales.

One boat come in not long before the scales would close.  The anglers on it were pulling fish out of a live well and when I looked over people were shooting pictures with their phones.  Because there was a lot of nice flounder on that boat.  The smallest kid on the boat had the largest fish on board.  He walked to the scales.  This whole crew was giddy with excitement, they knew they had a fish that would make the board.  At this point the heaviest fish was 4.0 pounds.

 

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The leaderboard at the end of the day.

Keith Stevenson took his flounder up on stage and everyone knew it would make the board.  The fish measured a full half-inch more than the lead fish.  We just didn’t know how far up he would place.  Now he had a serious grin going, and he was excited.  His crew was really excited for him too.  When the fish hit the scales the crowd went nuts and Keith had an ear to ear grin he would not be able to wipe off his face for days.  He topped out at 4.3 pounds and was now the leader looking at $10,000 for first place.  There were other fish waiting to be weighed in, but they knew they would not top Keith’s fish.

I asked Keith how he felt after he won and he was at a loss for words.  “I am really excited”.  That was about all he could muster at that point and he couldn’t get that grin off his face.  Now he had to decide if he wanted to take the prize money or a boat instead.  He was up onstage grinning like a kid in a candy store.  He didn’t skip a beat when he was asked which he would choose.  “I’ll take the boat”.  

Keith Stevenson and his crew

The boys in his crew were ecstatic for him.  “Keith loves fishing it is all he likes to do and as much as he can”  I am pretty sure at this point he will probably never stop fishing now, that is one heck of a prize for a 16-year-old kid.  The boys loaded back up on the boat and headed home with a trophy, a new boat, and one seriously happy kid.

Fish On!

Rich King

 

 

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