July 15th 2012 marked the 15th C.O. Pro-Teen Classic that was hosted once again by Russo’s Marina and coordinated and MC’d by Andy “Cooch” Cuccia. The event was precluded with fireworks lighting up the morning skies letting participants, volunteers and parents know that this years’ event was indeed starting off with a bang. The weather was a mix of cooler overnight temps and breezy warm afternoons that caused a change in the bite, but the event still turned out great with a reported 303 fish being brought to the scales, which all were returned to the water alive. This year 77 pro’s and teen’s hit the water in anticipation of what the day had in store for all the angler’s that were participating.
My teen draw this year was a young local angler Hunter Dejesus. Hunter and I started off the morning taking a 15 minute boat ride to our starting location and started off throwing a mix of topwater and reaction which paid us off with us putting a couple fish in the live well. We also mixed in drop shots, senkos, various plastics and a swim jig, all which caught fish for us. We did not end up finding any big fish but caught a number of fish and overall had a nice day out on the water. This day being about the teens, I figured I would try to allow Hunter to make some of the decisions on what he would like to fish in both technique and spots, which paid off with him putting an extra fish in the in the boat and filling out his limit. I had the pleasure of not only fishing with Hunter, but of also seeing teens that I had fished with in the years past and even took one of them out Saturday for some practice and fun. Being able to spend the weekend with my fellow RBBass guys, meeting new anglers and being able to put names with faces was very enjoyable.
The weigh-in for the event was awesome as it allowed the teens to have a chance to see what its like to be in a tournament setting. Being up at the stage, watching their fish hit the scales, having pictures taken with fish and their pro is something that all in attendance really enjoyed and I’m sure will not forget. The smiles were all over the place and when you look out into the crowd and see the families, the teens all the pro’s and spectators in attendance clapping and showing support for each team was really a great sight to see and is truly what the event is all about.
This event is all about getting kids out on the water, and regardless of being experienced or a teen that is just being introduced to the sport for the very first time, it’s about showing them what our sport is all about, how to treat and take care of the resource and share the love for the sport with others to ensure it’s growth for future generations to come.
There have been several teens that have gone on to become outstanding anglers and have even decided to complete at higher levels across the United States and it all started with them being part of this awesome event. You simply only have to look as far back as this years winning teen and his pro, which is a young angler himself. Congrats to a fellow RBBass member Kevin Cornwell for not only putting his teen on fish and helping him win the event, but more for given back to the sport that has given to him in his young age… Great Job!
After the weigh-in was completed and awards were given out for the top teams, there was again a huge raffle that had prizes such as shirts, hats, rods, reels and what seemed to be endless bags of tackle, including some real premium tackle. The contributions from RBBASSFISHING.NET, their sponsors and all the other sponsors that stepped up made a huge impact to a fantastic raffle.
As last year, there was a special volunteering boater raffle conducted as a THANK YOU for doing their part in ensuring each and every teen was able to participate in this years’ event. I in conjunction with RBBASSFISHING.NET, OPTIMA Batteries and Lock-n-Haul had the pleasure of handing out some very cool prizes and I would like to give a special thanks to those sponsors that donated the product. There was one Lock-n-Haul Advanced Transom Saver given away along with several 40% off discount coupons for Lock-n-Haul units. The grand prize was two OPTIMA Battery certificates for batteries of choice and was won by Terry Smith. Cook’s Tackle Systems also provided two systems to raffle off to participating boaters as well.
Overall this was a fantastic day and with the economy in its current status, it’s truly amazing how people contributed to this years event…Thanks to all ~
If you have never participated in the pro teen as a volunteer you’re missing out on a great day and feeling. Get your boat and come on down next year and for those that don’t have boats, Cooch can always use a hand on land getting stuff prepared for the afternoon festivities…come down and join the fun.