Collin Moore is 10 years old, and the Bradenton native made his first public speech on Sunday.
Sure, he was a little nervous, but give the kid a break. He had just won the Water LIFE Kids Cup Fishing Tournament and he was on an ESPN2 stage, with ESPN2 microphones in his face, being interviewed by, well, ESPN2!
Congratulations to the Bradenton kid who came home good with his winning fish in Sunday’s top-5 “Shootout” in Charlotte Harbor with a 5.18-pound redfish.
The bay was a bit rough, Moore remembers, and the last fish was caught 10 minutes before he and his uncle, Chuck Howard, had to motor back to Fisherman’s Village Marina for weigh-ins.
Chuck, as well as C.J., who is Moore’s grandfather and fished with Collin during qualifying the prior Sunday, are competitors in the affiliated Redfish Tour.
The Kids Cup was a community festival in Punta Gorda with contests for dogs (apparently, the kind where dogs fly after sticks and into pools), raffle tickets and other festivities.
But it was Collin Moore who ended up smiling and hoisting up a redfish on the cover of the latest Water LIFE Magazine.
Moore who was asked for autographs from younger and smaller boys (“I don’t know how to sign autographs,” Moore said); and Moore who, by winning, will be with Chuck or C.J. to fish in the IFA Ranger Boat Redfish Tour at Englewood in June for free.
Did we mention Moore’s interview? It will be aired on ESPN2 on July 4 either before or after coverage of the Redfish Tour beginning at 8:30 a.m.
All because of one, 5.18-pound redfish caught on a live shrimp as the clock was dwindling in Charlotte Harbor.
“It went around the boat like five times,” Moore said of the winning fish. “Finally I got it to the boat so we could put the net on him. I didn’t know that would be the last cast because the one I had before was pretty big.”
But it wasn’t being on ESPN2, winning the Kids Cup, or reeling in big reds that was Moore’s favorite part.
“Spending time with my family and my uncle and poppy,” Moore said, “and hanging out with them on the boat.”
Moore said those guys are pretty funny.
Like when Moore grabbed for a Gatorade.
“I was thirsty but (Chuck) said, ‘You can’t do that when you’re on ESPN,’” Moore said. “It’s fun with them because they teach me stuff out there, and they help me, and they’re fun because they talk to you, and they’re funny.”
After Moore’s big win, a pair of boys who didn’t have quite as much luck on the water approached Moore.
“Hey,” one boy said. “See ya next year, pal.”
Moore just smiled.
“OK,” he said.
Then he smiled some more.
Nick Walter, outdoors writer, can be reached at 745-7013.