Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kayak Fishing Tourney Is about Picture Perfect Event

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kayak Fishing Tourney Is about Picture Perfect Event

Article excerpt

Byline: Jim Sutton

The 2007 version of the Jacksonville Kayak Fishing Classic will be fished May 12. Founder, organizer and head cheerleader Mike Kogan will tell you that's no big deal.

But for 250 kayakers from across the U.S. and a bunch of at-risk kids, it certainly is. In the four years since its inception, the Classic has morphed into the biggest kayak tournament in the world. And Kogan tells you one more thing point-blank - it's also the best.

Why? Kogan says it's simple. "It's got more." He says that includes more fun, more entrants, the support of more of the kayaking community, the sponsorship of more of the outdoor retailers, more prizes and more raffle items - worth more than $55,000 this year.

But while the quantity associated with the tournament - more - is important, the quality is as well. And Kogan says that the tournament has two things no other can beat. "First, it's the best place to do it," he says. "We've got the finest creeks and estuary system in the country to fish." And second, Kogan says, the tournament benefits "the finest service agency in town" - Daniel Memorial. It was established in 1884 in Jacksonville and is considered to be Florida's oldest child-serving agency. It assists at-risk and troubled kids and their families, and makes it work on a very limited budget. All the money from entry fees and raffle prizes go directly to the group, and last year that amounted to $18,000.

The tournament this year kicks off May 11 with the captain's meeting at Strike Zone Fishing, 11702 Beach Blvd. The rules could be especially important Friday because the Classic has a format unlike few, if any, other fishing contests.

The basic concept was lifted from the Coastal Conservation Association. It's called catch, photo and release. One of the few limitations kayaks have in terms of competitive fishing is their range. Having 300 kayaks at the same ramp or area would severely stress the available fishing locale - not to mention competitors' nerves. …

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