Check out some images from the event in the gallery above.
Within an hour of open registration, the Salty Fly Tournament filled its allotment of fly anglers. Three months later, a full roster of 80 teams took to the waters surrounding Tampa Bay on Saturday, Feb. 23. The Salty Fly 2013, presented by Hell’s Bay Boatworks, is one of the top fly tournaments in Florida. Still, it's only growing.
The rules were simple. Tournament anglers had to measure the total length (in inches) of their best two redfish and one seatrout. Anglers had to bring a camera along, as the entire tournament was catch, photo and release (or CPR).
"We had anglers who traveled from the Cocoa Beach, Miami, Jacksonville, and the Florida Keys," said Sam Root, Tournament Director and owner of the fishing website www.saltyshores.com. "Out of state participants came from Texas, Georgia, Massachusetts and even Oregon."
Now in its third year, the event has grown to 160 anglers split into two-man teams. Next year, Sam Root expects 100 boats.
"We had fly anglers from beginners to seasoned veterans competing for the gold," Root said. "Sponsors like Hells Bay Boatworks, Yeti Coolers and Costa Del Mar sunglasses were there to show off gear and have fun getting some fishing time in."
Despite tough on-the-water conditions, teams saturated Tampa Bay looking for reds and seatrout. Many of them came back with pictures on their camera cards, eyeing a shot at the prizes. Late saturday, teams met at Little Harbor in Ruskin for the weigh-in and results. Most of the festivities surrounding the tournament, including raffles and dinner, took place at the Little Harbor Resort in Ruskin.
With a winning total of two redfish and one seatrout, Team Slayer's Chris Cenci and Cody Chivas measured 82.5 inches. This won them $1,500 in cash and prizes, but mostly bragging rights as the top dog. Runner up Team Conch Republic, made up of anglers Fred Hannon and Justin Cauffman, measured 73 inches. Team Carbon Marine, with Joe Welbourn and Dave Preston, came in a close third with 71.25 inches.
Sam Root says to set your calendars for next year as tournament plans are already marked for the 2014 Salty Fly on Feb. 21.