BRADENTON - The Hernando De Soto Historical Society will hold its 13th annual De Soto Fishing Tournament this weekend. Event organizers hope to lure anglers from throughout the state with more than $33,000 in cash and prizes.
Four separate divisions will compete in this year's event: junior, inshore, nearshore and offshore.
The junior division ($175 registration) requires participants to be younger than 18. The inshore division ($350) participants are restricted to Florida's West Coast. Anglers in the nearshore division ($450) are permitted to venture about 55 miles west of the shore, and the offshore division ($550) has no limits imposed.
Sharon McGlynn, executive director of the Hernando De Soto Historical Society, said many of the seasoned boat captains trained at reading weather forecasts foresee favorable fishing conditions.
"They think we're going to have very good weather for the tournament," she said.
McGlynn said boats and crews need to be in line at the Bradenton Yacht Club by 5:30 p.m. on Friday to register for the event.
The winners of the tournament will be decided at the weigh-in event at the Yacht Club on Sunday. The junior division weigh-in will take place at 11 a.m., the inshore at noon, the nearshore division at 1 p.m., and the weigh in for the offshore division will take place from 2 to 3 p.m.
More than $33,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to 21 teams, with additional cash prizes for largest total weight, largest snook and largest redfish. Crews that finish in first place in the inshore, nearshore and offshore divisions will receive $5,000 each.
Last year's winner in the offshore division was Robert Creadon of the boat No Escape, and the second-place finish went to Chris Galati of Team Galati.
Glen Pla, star of Bright House Networks' "Average Angler Adventures," will be at the event. Auction items will be available to the public as the anglers return with their weekend catch.
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