After traveling across the U.S. from one coast to another to attend this year’s WTC event, “Fly” Navarro, owner of “Fly Zone,” and publisher of “Catch 2020,” highlighting 60 of the best saltwater inshore, offshore, and freshwater tournaments in the Americas, observed, “What an event!”
Fly looked on as approximately 230 participants, along with veterans, family members, and friends, dominated the waterfront, gathering to cheer their favorite teams on to victory.
Teams consisted of six members (media and veterans can ride but do not count). They compete in the two full days of chasing albacore (Friday and Saturday) and other pelagics, including yellowtail, opah, mahi-mahi (dorado), bluefin, or yellowfin tuna, if the team is entered in a separate Pelagic category.
The tournament’s “Big Fish Friday” winner, for the largest fish weighed on Friday before the tournament, was 30.87 pounds and was taken by Team Sea-Ya-Later. Friday was an excellent rehearsal for Saturday when each team would bring their five largest albacore to the scale.
On both Friday and Saturday afternoons, onlookers crowded the scale as Weighmaster Will Llewellyn went about his task of weighing in each team’s largest fish.
On Saturday, the albacore ranging from 25 to 30-plus pounds were brought in by veterans’ teams along with other charters and private vessels.
Later that evening, Fly Navarro joined the WTC Team and presented the awards as follows:
- Team Usual Suspects with 122.56 pounds, First Place. $1,500
- Team Sea-Ya-Later with 122.42 pounds, Second Place. $750
- Team Chic Clique with 120.3 pounds, Third Place. $500
Other winners included the Coastal Food Banks that will receive the approximately 5,000 pounds of fish caught after it has been processed.
Honorable mentions goes out to the Teams that hosted local veterans for the two-day sportfishing event, as well as the many sponsors: Robertson and Olson Constructions, Inc.; Defiance Marine; Allied Boats; Renaissance Marine Group; Raymarine; Island Lodge; Al Lago Restaurant; Guaranteed Rate; Accurate Fishing; Englund’s Marine; Aloha Alabama; Ocean Gold, and Merinos Seafood Market.
Mission Outdoors is a nonprofit organization that works with veterans to provide outdoor experiences that help them with service-related issues like loneliness and feelings of isolation — their motto, “Hope grows outdoors.” For more on the tournament and the group’s mission, visit them at missionoutdoors.org.
Some comments from the Veterans who attended the Mission Outdoors “Hope Grows Outdoors” event: