Float Tube Derby Recap - April 13, 2013
The first round of the three-round Friends of Castaic Lake Float Tube Tournament went off this past Saturday, April 13th at historic Castaic Lake in Castaic, California. What started out years ago as a single tournament, has grown into a 3 tournament series with a Grand Champion being crowned by adding all three tournament weigh-ins together at the final event later this year. The three events are scheduled in April, June, and September, allowing anglers to fish in varying conditions and water temperatures. This particular round had fish spawning in the North end of the lake, while the South end had more of a pre-spawn pattern. 38 tubers entered the event and they were greeted with early fog that lifted into a perfect 75 degree, Southern California day. When the horn went off at the end of the event, less than 2 pounds separated the top 5 anglers and only two ounces separated the top three.
Chad Emery finished the day in 5th place with 14.38 lbs. Chad says that he drop shotted one style worm all day adding, "Once I found the pattern I just kept at it." Daniel "Cowboy" Palmer brought home 4th place with 15.5 pounds. "I didn't do anything special. I think we all got on a similar pattern and color. When it's your day, it's your day. It could be a 2 pounder or it could be a 12 pounder when you feel that twitch on your line. I'm happy with my finish today and I'm ready for the second round in June." Castaic Lake local-Dave Baltes fished his way into 3rd place with 16.18 pounds and he also won the "Big Bass Money" with a 6.26 pound kicker that he says he caught on a 6" Don Iovino Bass Killer. The second place finisher was Doug Mathias. This was Doug's first time fishing the tournament and he was a bit surprised by his great finish. "I ended up fishing very light line. I ended up using 4 lb test and the 4.5 inch curly tail worm was my weapon of choice today", said Doug as he hauled away his 2nd place prizes with a total of 16.36 pounds. The winner of the inaugural round, with only 1/100th of a pound separating him and the 2nd place finisher was Mongnchi Xiong. This was also Mongnchi's first time fishing the tournament. His brother has fished it in the past but this was His day. "I want to thank my brother –because he talked me into doing the tournament this year. I caught every fish on the dropshot today and I had a blast. This is a really cool event. It's also nice that they have a huge BBQ going on for us when we get off the lake." Mongnchi took home the first place prize packages that included a new Outcast LCS 4 float tube worth more than $300.
Terry Kratzer, the Tournament coordinator added, "This was a great event for us. We've been doing this tournament for years and we've never seen a finish this close before. It's also nice to see the number of anglers on the rise too. None of it would have been possible if it weren't for our incredible sponsors and volunteers. They really stepped up their level of support this year. Also, one of the local anglers, Shawn Norfolk is helping us with the marketing of the event and his company Ironclad Performance Wear made special banners and coffee mugs and made sure that every angler went home with a pair of Mach 5 fingerless gloves." The sponsors for the first round of the FOCL fishing tournament are:
- Ironclad Performance Gloves
- Zipper Worm Company
- Case Plastics
- Outcast Sporting gear
- Peregrine 250
- Dobyns Rods
- Team Davies Drop Shot weights
- Don Iovino Products
- Tackle Express
- Sport Chalet (Porter Ranch and Stevenson Ranch locations)
- Roberto's Boat repair
- Power Team Lures
- Troy Linder
- Tony Kim
A huge thanks also to our staff members who helped run this event. This included shore staffers Mike and Melissa Alvardo, Grant Powell, Karl Kratzer, Mike Iljin, Dave Baltes, Mark Koback, Kathey Hartman, and John Ritchie. Weighing fish in boats were Ken Boyce, Tony Kim, Mark O'Borsky, Ron Davis, Roger Larocque, George Garcia, Dan Ahorn, Marty Lorentzen, David Eberle, and Al Hasson. Also a big thanks to Pete Carrissosa and family, who grilled up a great bbq lunch!
This tournament isn't just about competitive fishing with other anglers and friends. The entire event is put on by the non-profit group "Friends of Castaic Lake" (FOCL). The FOCL is a dedicated group of volunteers who continue to make a positive impact on the Castaic Lake Recreation Area. Formed in 1983 as a nonprofit group with the mission to support and enhance the operation of the County of Los Angeles' largest regional park, the FOCL conduct fundraisers and special events to support park programs and projects.
This event is only one of the many events that also include:
1. The 3 event Float Tube Tournament series
2. The 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular
3. The Fishing and Fun for Kids day
4. The C.A.S.T. (Casting a Special Thrill) event for disabled children
5. The December "Winter Magic" lighted boat parade
The Friends meet on the 3rd Tuesday of every month (Except December). If you are interested in getting involved, attend a meeting, or for more information, please contact the park office at (661) 257-4050. If you're interested in sponsoring the June or September rounds of the FOCL Float Tube Tournament, please contact Shawn Norfolk at ShawnNorfolk@gmail.com.