Champions Tour Angler Cashes in on a Trip of a Lifetime
At each event during the 2017 Classic Bass Champions Tour, the angler who caught the biggest bass not only received an award at that event, but had the opportunity at the Championship to participate in a flipping contest to win a trip to Islamorada, Florida to stay and go fishing with Classic Bass owner, Scott Bonnema.
Well, Champions Tour angler Brad Leifermann won that contest and recently returned from his trip to Florida where he received a crash course on salt water angling from Bonnema and local guides.
“It was a trip of a lifetime without a doubt,” smiled Leifermann as we spoke to him at the Northwest Sport Show. “The weather was great, the Islamorada area is so beautiful and we caught a lot fish, not to mention I got to get out of the Minnesota winter!”
Brad not only brought his angling skills with him to Florida, but a bit of the Minnesota cold, as the first night he was in Florida, temperatures dropped down into the 50’s, not cold for us here in the Midwest, but for those in Florida, including the fish, this was a bit of a system shock.
“As we headed out that first day with a guide, you could just tell he wasn’t too optimistic about the day because of the cool temperatures,” said Brad. “It was chilly running across the bay, but still a beautiful Florida day and we did catch some fish, so the first day in Florida wasn’t a bust.”
Between Brad and Scott, the duo caught a wide variety of saltwater fish including: Tripletail, Ladyfish (poor man’s Tarpon), Speckled Trout (there Walleye) and several sharks, including a 50 pounder that Brad landed.
The cold weather did shut down the Tarpon bite, which peaks in May and June, but regardless, Scott and Brad checked that bite every day to see if they could get any to commit to biting.
“I was a total rookie at saltwater fishing, there is a certain way you need to set the hook on some of these species and I eventually picked up on it,” stated Brad. “It brought me back to my days of shore fishing the river in high school with my buddies for catfish and sturgeon.”
The Islamorada area is a true Fisherman’s Paradise as it is about a quarter mile from a Bass Pro Shops, amazing restaurants and scenery that gets etched into one’s mind. “It is truly a remarkable place and I’ll always remember the dolphins swimming right next to the boat.”
“I can’t thank Scott and his wife Nancy enough for this opportunity and to host me for this trip, I’ll never forget it and the Bonnema’s are some of the most generous and humble people I’ve met, so thank you!”