Early on Sunday morning, just as the sun began to creep over the horizon, anxious anglers had their rods and reels at the ready, and tackle boxes packed. Over at the LaBelle Boat Ramp, around 30 boats launched into the Caloosahatchee, as the 2019 Swamp Cabbage Festival’s Bass Fishing Tournament kicked off. Motors gurgling and fishing finders a-glow, they headed out in search of the ever-elusive bass.
The cool morning heated up quickly, and as the anglers trolled along hoping to reel in the big one, the sun began to beat down on them. As the day wore on, a few worn out fishermen returned to the docks, boats carrying nothing but fish tales of those that got away. As more boats returned and were loaded onto their trailers, some pretty impressive looking fish bags were finally spotted. Weigh-in time drew near, as a line of hopeful fishermen formed, bags filled with the live fish sloshing and splashing their way to the scale.
Tournament winners Craig Matthews and Caleb Nimitz received $1,229, after a total weigh-in of five nice fish at 25.24 lbs. Their biggest fish weighed in at 7.39 lbs. which also earned them an additional $300 for the Big Bass Prize. Second place, and $500, went to team “Reel Mates” whose total catch weighed 19.62 lbs. Team “No Bananas” came in third place with 16.84 lbs. winning $365. Fourth place winners, Kevin and Danny, caught a total of 15.72 lbs. of fish and won $230. The last cash award of $130, was given to fifth place winners, Chadwick and Autry, who reeled in a total of 13.45 lbs.