It is always a treat to have members of the Hell’s Bay Family back at the factory — and especially the legendary Chico Fernandez. The 5thAnnual Central Florida HB Owners Tournament was a fantastic day filled with good laughs, great food and challenging fishing
The day started early here at the factory with a 6 a.m. check-in, donuts, hot coffee and some killer HB swag for all the anglers.
The tournament kicked off with the official lines-in at 7:15 a.m. Everyone was greeted with slick, calm waters and plenty of tailing redfish. Getting them to eat a fly or even a live shrimp was another story — the fishing was just downright tough.
As the day progressed, the temps climbed and made the time on the water even more challenging, especially for the guy on the poling tower! Everyone fished hard to the bitter end, and all lines were out at 2:30 p.m.
As the anglers and their skiffs arrived back at HB headquarters, they were rewarded with cold beverages and fresh oysters ready to shuck. What a wonderful treat after a hot day on the water!
Everyone shared their fishing stories with old and new friends alike. The camaraderie is by far one of the best things about our HB gatherings.
Our good friends from Captains for Clean Water prepared another amazing Lowcountry boil for everyone. We cannot thank Capt. Chris Wittman and Capt. Daniel Andrews enough for making the trip up to the factory and for all their hard work.
After dinner, Capt. Chris and Capt. Daniel shared Captains for Clean Water’s latest news and their recent mission to Washington, D.C. They are making great progress on our water issues in Florida and asked for everyone’s support to continue the fight. (Want to help the cause? Donate today.)
Last but not least, it was time for the awards ceremony. It was a tough day of fishing for most anglers, but Capt. Shannon McNally and his fishing partner, George Ricks, took home hardware.
Capt. Shannon had the most total spots with 2 fish and 6 spots. George claimed the prize for most spots on one fish with 3 spots. And this year’s Junior Angler award went to Maxwell Scott for landing several fish during the day.
All the winners had a chance to sign the new perpetual trophy featuring the amazing artwork of Paul Puckett.
We would also like to thank all the HB craftsmen who joined us for the day. Without these guys, the fine skiffs we love to fish would never exist.