As a previous winner of the Crosthwait’s junior division, Peter Smith and team Double Bounty have been close to bringing home a title in the years since.
After last weekend’s fifth annual Palmetto High School Athletic Booster Fishing Tournament, the hard work they’ve put in over recent years finally paid off.
“It was a tough tournament,” Smith explained. “We caught maybe 15 fish total. We might not have caught many but we caught the right ones.”
After a Friday evening captains meeting, the 41 boats fishing were able to get started. Smith and team wasted no time and had their first fish on the measuring board immediately.
“We knew we were done trout fishing after that one as soon as it was on the board,” Smith said of the 27-inch trout that opened their tournament. “That was 100 percent what did it for us in winning the tournament.”
Smith and teammates Wyatt Plum, Jake Hind and Ben Hoffner were able to change gears. By Saturday afternoon, the team with the largest single trout, redfish and snook combination in inches would be the winner and Smith’s team were a third of the way to the end.
After getting a picture and releasing the trout, their focus changed.
“We were planning on wading all night to get a trout. Around 1 a.m., we got a 31-inch redfish. It was a solid fish but not the one we wanted to so we kept fishing. We kept fishing that spot and caught one more that was 29 or 30 inches,” Smith said.
With two thirds of their slam complete, Smith and team focused on the final piece, a snook.
As the sun was rising Saturday, Hoffner found himself hooked into a big linesider while wading. He secured it and brought it back to the boat. On the board it measured at 37 inches, bringing the team’s total to 95 inches.
“The snook was a respectable fish but not usually a tournament winner,” Smith said. “We didn’t think 95 inches was going to be enough so we spent the rest of the tournament looking for a bigger redfish.”
Fortunately for the team, 95 inches was enough to win.
For their victory, they claimed a $2,000 first place prize and $100 for the largest trout. That money will be going toward the upcoming Crosthwait tournament in May.
“I think it’s going to be high scoring,” Smith said of the upcoming tournament. “The trout bite will be tough, but there will still be some big ones caught.”
Second place went to team Rats on Da Cheese and Capt. Keith Stonestreet, while third place went to team Harbor Chiropractic and Capt. Joe Medred.