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13th Annual Gilchrist Rotary Fishing Tournament

Everyone fished hard on Saturday for the 13th Annual Gilchrist Rotary Fishing Tournament and if they didn’t win anything, we think that they had a really good time. The weather was good, saltwater fishermen didn’t have to contend with the strong winds offshore that everyone has been complaining about for the past two weeks. And despite the snook, that are reportedly seriously affecting the bass population near the mouth of the Suwannee, there were a few boats that brought in some really nice bass.
Everyone had a great time on Friday night at Salt Creek Restaurant for the Captain’s Dinner. Ginger served fried fish, flounder, and fried shrimp along with baked beans, cole slaw, hush puppies, iced tea, and even cake for dessert. There were 21 bass boats and 27 inshore saltwater boats registered and they took off at first safe light which was about 6:30 Saturday morning.
The bass weigh in was at 3:00 pm and the first prize for the biggest bass bag went to the team of Jeremy Dohrn and Jeremiah Garling with a 5 fish weight of 15.8 lbs. A bass bag consists of 5 fish that are alive and kicking under a special permit granted by the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) then the fish are returned to the water after the weigh in. The Dohrn and Garling team also had the biggest bass in the tournament, 4.37 lbs. The team took home $1,650 in tournament winnings and they also bought their own boat in the Calcutta which won them an additional $2,362, not a bad day for the winning team. The team of Jessy and Dustin Jones took the second place prize in the bass division with a bag of 9.46 lbs. Vicky Harry brought in the biggest trash fish and no one really cares what it weighed, but Vicky was pleased to take home a check for $50.
The Inshore saltwater consists of 1 legal redfish and 5 legal trout, both redfish and trout are limited in size according to their length, they can’t be too long or too short and those rules can change each year. The biggest inshore bag was won by the team of Brad and Tish Bonner with a combined weight of 15.69 lbs. They took home a tournament winning check for $1,500 and they also bought their own boat in the Calcutta which earned them another $2,500. The biggest redfish was caught by the team of James Miller and Joe Jeffcoat and they earned $250 for that fish. Ray Parrish and Michael Molf won $250 for the biggest speckled sea trout and it weighed 2.72 lbs, they also took a check for $250. The biggest inshore trash fish was a black drum caught by the team of Russell Osteen and Mason Cassidy, neither one would take credit for catching it but they will share the $50 prize.
At the end of the day it was another successful tournament and the Gilchrist Rotary wants to especially thank all of the sponsors, Allen Clark, Suwannee Marina, and Salt Creek Restaurant. Gilchrist Rotary uses the proceeds from the tournament to support many youth programs in the county like Gilchrist Leagues, the Interact Clubs in both county High Schools, and the Gilchrist Education Foundation.
Thanks to all the Rotarians for their support in making this event a success. Special thanks to Rotarian John Rutledge for getting some great raffle prizes!