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Pine Island Skiff Classic - Skiff ClassicS Saltmarsh Skiffs


 Pine Island Skiff Classic - Skiff ClassicS Saltmarsh Skiffs


The daylight savings time change had anglers a bit fuzzy but not for long. They launch into the darkness and enjoyed a bit of pre-dawn fishing in the famous waters of Pine Island, Florida. The full moon had the big bull reds and snook munching their breakfast early then the trout woke up to the sunrise around 7:30am.


The Breakfast bell rang loud and the action was furious as the tide pulled out presenting some top anglers with yet another challenge of locating fish in skinny water. Some anglers really like the shallow flats and the skiffs are built for this game. The anglers were hunting a Gulf Coast Slam or inshore slam; Snook, Redfish and Trout.


Only the largest fish of each of the 3 species would count for their team score as the iAngler Tournament scoring system kept good track of all of the action. The lead changed hands several times which you saw if you were watching your online TV or visited the iAngler Tournament website.


The Skiff ClassicS payouts 80% of entry fees after PayPal processing which is nominal so the teams get a nice payday and have a lot of fun fishing in some of the most beautiful and productive waters in Florida. Pine Island is definitely fits that criteria as well as being known worldwide for huge snook.


Well the reputation is real as anglers saw and tangled with some incredible snook and redfish during the tournament. I was fortunate enough to watch a beast chase bait along a seawall at host Sandy Hook Ribs and Fish. Always a treat to see that happen looking down on top of the action.  Another angler about lost his mind when a giant lady took him to school…it happens. Let’s take a look at how it all finished and who caught what.


1st Place Team Oceanic Gear Derek Engle and Eric Henson scored a total slam length of 84.5” That’s very a very solid performance indeed. Redfish 29’2”  Trout 22.8”  Snook 32.5”


2nd Place Team Ankle Deep Russell Jacobs and Jake Bates turned in a very respectable slam total of 68.7”  Redfish 28.5” Trout 16” Snook 24.2” Russell of Jacobs Fishing had his team on huge reds and snook that were just a bit too spooky in the 5” of water on the flats.


3rd Place Team Martiniuk Richard Martiniuk and Richie Martiniuk scored a total slam of 64.3” The father and son team also gave chase on the flats as they encountered some amazing fish.


Inshore Marine Products Big Fish award went to Team Oceanic Gear with their 32.5” Snook caught on Monster 3X Shrimp…killer job for the $50 gift certificate from Inshore Marine Products and a fantastic artwork by Steve Whitlock.


Steve Whitlocks’ Estero Bay Pine Island piece is amazing and you can see his collection at


Next up for the Skiff ClassicS is the April 23 Ft. Pierce/Stuart Skiff Classic and we hope to see you there. Visit the Skiff ClassicS for additional information and registration at  Brought to you by Ankona Boats, Saltmarsh Skiffs, Mercury Marine, Motorguide, Steve Whitlock Game Fish Art, Inshore Marine, Railblaza


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Getting Sticky





                        Getting Sticky


                                                                                                                                                             By Captain Pat Horrigan


    When the fishing is getting epic it’s time to be getting sticky. Epic, once in the a lifetime fish are just that…once in a lifetime and how many of us have had that OIAL fish take our bait or fly only to get her close to the boat or shoreline only to watch the beastie swim away? That’s a terrible sinking feeling that is like no other.

 After doing our due diligence of research on a particular species that we are first time hunting and have learned all of the dirty tricks this fish is famous for pulling on unprepared anglers, booking a lodge, a guide, convincing the spouse that you need to do this, getting your buddies together and traveling to the destination and on and on the check list goes. So what is it that happens? After all of this, the guide puts us on an amazing fish that willingly is fooled into attacking your offering like a bat out of hell and we don’t land the fish? What?! happens.

Let’s take a look at what goes wrong; All of us put new backing and line on our reels, new leaders, do one last check on the ole reel and rod, double check our knots and go thru our tackle or fly box, selecting the proper little morsels to fool Ms Epic. What did I forget? How old are your lures and flies and how sharp are they. Equally what hooks are you using?

 That’s right, I said hooks and for good reason. If you go thru your gear properly including sharpening the manufacturers’ hooks and you still loose fish…well you know where I’m heading with this. It’s not you or your angling skills assuming that you have been fishing for a few years and have seen plenty of action. You hooked Ms Epic and endured all of her nasty tricks and reel screetching runs only to lose her in a last moment jump or worse…at that boat? Of course it’s the hooks!

 Hooks are so important and do so much more than just hook a fish. Any decent hook will do that. A great hook has balance. Let me say that again, a great hook has balance. A great hook is designed to deliver exacting penetration and holding depth in the boney jaw of powerful wild creatures that put amazing stresses on the hook, line and rod.

 An average hook is the weakest part of your equipment. Not the strength of the hook so much as the performance of the hook. We have all seen bull redfish crush hooks and tarpon just destroy them down to the eye. Those are average or good hooks that just don’t offer the consistent hook performance that we need. Dare I say Deserve? Indeed, when you think about it we as anglers at any level deserve the very best and it’s out there. You just need to know where to look and what to look for.

 I mostly fly fish as that was what I was given as a child. I do shy away from treble hooks as I seem to get entangled in them no matter what. I tie many of my own flies and have done so for long time. I’ve used many different types of hooks by many manufacturers and discovered a common theme…and lost some beautiful fish along the way.

 Hook set does not just come from the action you take with rod. Think about all that is in play when you set the hook. You are moving the rod, the line, the hook and the fish is moving. If you do everything correctly it comes down to how well the hook is designed and how it is made.

 Over the many decades of throwing feathers I came across Owner Hooks and tried them out along with my usual shelf brands at the fly shops. I have never had an Owner Hook fail or break. I have missed fish but that’s my fault, as much as that hurts to admit. Most anglers have a brand preference and this is not to say that your favorite brand is no good…of course not. When you look at an Owner hook, the design and balance, you will see what I am talking about.

 In 2016 I invited Owner to become involved with our tournament series and provide hooks to our anglers. Why? I cannot tell you how many times I have heard top anglers tell me about the tournament winning fish that crushed their hooks or became unbuttoned. The anglers that now use the Owner hooks are winning tournaments…Get Sticky…enough said.


Thanks for reading and I’ll see you on the water.


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Welcome to the Skiff ClassicS

The Skiff ClassicS is brought to you by Tropic Bay, Ankona Boats, Saltmarsh Skiffs, Mercury Marine, Motorguide, Steve Whitlock Game Fish Art, Railblazza, and Inshore Marine Products.

The Top 3 Teams in each tournament split an

                     80% CASH PAYOUT

Top Championship Team wins a new boat!

We will conduct 6 open Team Tournaments followed by our Invitational Championship where the winning Championship team will be awarded a Saltmarsh Skiffs by Ankona Boats.

Tournaments will be held around the State of Florida on coastal waters. All tournaments are CPR (catch, photo and release) and anglers use only artificial lures.

Scoring is by team catches of total inches and are scored thru our iAngler Tournament App. After creating a username, password and building a team profile on iAngler Tournament, the team captain will receive our tournament code upon registration confirmation. This will place the team onto the tournament leader board for viewing and tracking catches.

The data collected on fish (not your secret fishing hole) will be shared with several scientific marine research organizations such as SGF, Mote Marine and the FWC for the purposes of fish health evaluation and stock assessment in the tournament fishing zone. Again, not a specific location...just within the zone.

Join our events and the fun for some of the best fishing tournaments in Florida, meet great anglers and have good times at are weigh ins....see you on the water.


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About Skiff ClassicS

Welcome to the Skiff ClassicS Tournament Series presented by Tropic Bay and all of our Fantastc Sponsors. We are very excited to bring you the best tournament series and the best sponsors in the world.

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