More than 1,000 anglers in 539 boats took to the water in Palatka last week to compete in the 33rd annual Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass Tournament, widely recognized as one of the largest bass fishing tournaments in Florida.
The three-day event featured different competitions each day, culminating in the main tournament Saturday, May 21. Wyatt Kinney, of Bunnell, Fla., and Austin Black, of East Palatka, Fla., won first place overall with a five-fish aggregate weight of 29.89 lbs. Second place went to Brett Bollinger and Justin Atkinson, both of Green Cove Springs, Fla., with a total weight of 24.57 lbs. Michael Hall, of Yulee, Fla., and Tracey Duckett, of Lake City, Fla., took home third place overall with a five-fish weight of 23.62 lbs.
The winners of Thursday’s Lads and Lasses Tournament were: Steve and Kirsten Bishop, of DeLand, Fla., with a five-fish aggregate weight of 24.84 lbs., followed by Wyatt Kinney and Alyssa Gross, of Bunnell, Fla., in second place, and Jason and Jasmin Phiel, of Palatka, Fla., in third.
During the VIP & Friends Tournament on Friday, May 20, Robin Shiver and Syler Prince, of Palatka, Fla., took home first with an aggregate weight of 19.15 lbs. Danny Inabnett and Randy Sievert, of DeLeon, Fla., came in second place, and Edwin Smith and Jace Stokes, of Glen St. Mary, Fla., came in third.
Winners took home more than $48,000 in cash prizes.
This year’s Bass Tournament raised more than $435,000 in donations, bringing the total contributed to Wolfson Children’s Hospital in the event’s 33-year history to over $6 million. All proceeds from this year’s event benefit the Wolfson Children’s C. Herman and Mary Virginia Terry Heart Institute, helping fund life-saving cardiology and heart surgery equipment and state-of-the-art technology.
“We look forward to this event every year because it brings in anglers from across the Southeast along with spectators from the local area, all to raise money for children who are fighting serious health battles,” said Sam Dean, tournament co-chair and Baptist Health system director of Plant Facilities. “Everyone in Northeast Florida knows someone who has received care at Wolfson Children’s, and it’s an honor to be able to contribute to help make a difference in the lives of these children and families.”
The public may still enter a drawing for a 21’ 2022 Bullet Boat model 21XRS with a Mercury 250 Pro X motor and Boatmate trailer, courtesy of Bullet Boats and Mercury Marine, valued at $78,000, until noon on Friday, June 3. The drawing will be broadcast on Facebook Live on Saturday, June 4, at 11 am.
The Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass Tournament began in 1989, when the director of the Plant Facilities department of Baptist Medical Center Jacksonville, along with several others, wanted to raise funds for technological advancements at Wolfson Children's Hospital. Today, it is one of the largest tournaments in the state raising money for kids. The tournament beneficiary, Wolfson Children's Hospital, provides comprehensive medical and surgical care for sick and injured children across North Florida, South Georgia and beyond.
The 34th annual Wolfson Children’s Hospital Bass Tournament is scheduled to take place May 18-20, 2023. Early bird registration is now open online.