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Winners of 20th Annual Calusa Blueway Kayak Fishing Tournament announced

By Staff | Dec 7, 2023

Blueway Tournament winner Patrick Rickert. PROVIDED

Eighty-six kayak anglers from all over the country participated in this year’s 20th Annual Calusa Blueway Kayak Fishing Tournament, which took place Saturday, Nov. 11.  

The Calusa Blueway Kayak Fishing Tournament is a premier paddle sport fishing tournament that takes place in Southwest Florida and highlights the waterways of The Great Calusa Blueway Paddling Trail in Lee County.

Using only the catch, photo and release method for scoring this slam tournament, kayak anglers must begin their fishing no earlier than first light (6:30 a.m.) and check in for “weigh in” no later than 3 p.m. This year’s mandatory Captain’s Meeting and Weigh-In were held at Scotty’s Bierwerks in Cape Coral. 

Thanks, in great part, to all the participants, volunteers and sponsors such as FFI Contracting Services, Coastal Angler Magazine Fort Myers, Honc Marine Contracting, Ascend Technologies Group, Vanhunks USA and Surf 9, just under $12,000 was raised through a combination of tournament entries, sponsorships, raffles and silent auction items.  

A total of $8,400 was donated directly to Candlelighters of Southwest Florida, whose mission is to provide support, educate and assist families of children with cancer and blood disorders. 


The winners of the 2023 Calusa Blueway Kayak Fishing Tournament include:

• First place and winner of $1,000: Patrick Rickert  with 77.50 total inches (trout, snook and redfish). He generously donated back half his winnings to the Candlelighters.

• Second place and winner of $500: David McCleaf, 77.00 total inches ((trout, snook and redfish).  

• Third place and winner of $250: Mark Peterson, 72.00 total inches ((trout, snook and redfish).  

• Longest redfish and winner of $100: Patrick Rickert, 31 inches. 

• Longest snook and winner of $100: Annalisa Xioutas, 28 inches. 

• Longest trout and winner of $100: David McCleaf, 25 inches.

• Wildcard redfish and winner of a Pen Battle III Rod & Reel Combo courtesy of Lehr’s Economy Tackle & Soft Plastics courtesy of Egret Baits, Joe Henary  

• Wildcard trout and winner of a Nautica Adventure ISUP courtesy of Surf 9 Chris Choo, Diana Stockbridge.