The 6th Annual Toho Marine and Outdoors Help Our Heroes Benefit Fishing Tournament was held June 1st on the Kissimmee Chain of Lakes and once again was assessed as a huge success!
The location for this year’s fishing tournament was at Overstreet Landing on Lake Kissimmee, with 81 teams participating who together caught 239 Bass totaling 818 pounds!! There were 6 qualifying Florida Trophy Catch Bass caught and released, 3 of which were over 10 pounders. A qualifying Trophy Catch is 8 pounds or larger.
Sixteen places took home a piece of the $14,000 jackpot with First Place receiving $5,000. The team of Tony Bartels and Jamie Shay brought the largest limit (5 fish) of the tournament across the scales, a 35.36-pound sack anchored by one of those 8-pound Trophy Catches. The duo had all but one fish in the boat by 10:00 am according to Bartels.
The tournament boaters launched from the dock at safelight, around 6:15 am and fished until 3:00 pm, making for a long day on the lake, especially in this Florida heat. Despite the temperature, Bartels and Shay stayed on Lake Kissimmee, known for their big large mouth bass, the entire day and decided not to venture out to any of the surrounding chain of lakes as they were permitted to. The decision paid off as their 35-pound bag was the largest weight they had ever caught during a tournament.
Positively Osceola had a chance to speak to Bartels as he was walking up to the scales. “We knew we were in the money, but expected at least 40 plus pounds to win it.” The team had no knowledge of previous weights coming in once weigh-in had started, as they were in the last flight of boats to return to the dock.
The BIG Bass of the tournament, a 10.91 Trophy Catch also caught on Lake Kissimmee, earned the Team of Mason and Jason Boylan a bonus of $1,600. The Boylan’s also finished in 3rd Place.
The 6th Annual Toho Marine and Outdoors Help Our Heroes Benefit Fishing Tournament was not just “another fishing tournament, it was also a fundraiser with three organizations in the community that was selected to receive a $3,000 donation from funds raised thru the raffle and auction during the tournament.
This year’s recipients were the Osceola County Sheriffs Department, The Osceola County Fire Department Benevolent and the Brothers In Arms Foundation. The day was also a time to honor those who have served and have made a Positive Difference.
After the tournament finished the anglers and spectators were treated to a Barbecue lunch while the awards were being presented.
Here are how the top 10 teams finished: 1st Tony Bartels – Jamie Shay ( 35.36 lbs) 2nd Dustin Smith – Ben Kurtz (32.71 lbs) 3rd Mason & Jason Boylan ( 25.25 lbs) 4th Jim Folks – Jeremy Smith (24.54 lbs) 5th David Howell – Bob Wojcuich ( 23.57 lbs) 6th Willie Simmons – Caleb Simmons (23.34 lbs) 7th Juan Caballero – Chris Maxwell ( 22.12 lbs) 8th Gary Neimi – Ricky Helmeth (21.80 lbs) 9th Brian Wical – Justin Sonnier ( 21.32 lbs) 10th Robin Shiver – Rodney Hunter ( 21.10 lbs)
Congratulations to Toho Marine and Outdoors and all who participated and made this amazing tournament possible. We’re looking forward to next year!