Dec 08

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Florida Team Ready to Go!

Tampa Florida angler Jacob Meier

2022 Elite Series Competitor, Jacob Meier is a top notch guy and guide from the Tampa Florida area.

After signing up for the 2022 Elite Solo Tour he was looking forward to a great year of competition going head to head against some of the best anglers in the country in the Elite Solo Tour’s one angler per boat tournament series. Then the schedule for the Elite Team Tour was announced Jacob stated “I think me and my partner will jump in those too” and was excited to hit the road in February of 2022.

In between that time and now has seemed like an eternity for him, the excitement when he talks about competing on the Elite Series is palpable. As the tour set it’s rules and regs for 2022 and the changes we felt necessary to follow the lead of the Yamaha Bassmaster Redfish Cup Championship held this past November, we realized the changes to towers and platforms would affect Jacob and his rig and probably spell the end to his short lived enthusiasm for our tour.

Meier has a bay boat with a secondary driving position on that he uses for his guide business in south Florida. The new rules prohibiting the ability to navigate a boat from a elevated position (above a standard riser box of 16-20″) in official practice and tournament days would surely mean he would be forced to withdraw, right?… Wrong!.

“I really want to fish, is there anything that we can do? If not I totally understand and respect the rules. Here’s a pic of my boat.”, he messaged us and included a running pic of his rig. After reviewing the pictures of Jacob’s boat it became fairly obvious this was not a normal flat bottom or tunnel type tower boat. The unique part of Jacob’s boat is he has 2 navigational helms and can operate the boat from either position. The bottom nav position fits within the rules as it is built from the very bottom of the boat and when he is operating from the upper position (not allowed during official practice and/or days of competition) he stands on a platform that is less than 5′ tall, again from the very bottom of the boat. The rules allow for a casting platform no taller than 5′ from the front deck height or 5′ up from up to a 20″ riser box back in the navigational area.

We sent the running image of his boat with notes back to him and stated, we would have to remove the controls from the upper navigational platform so that the boat could not operated from the elevated position and he would have to remove the back bimini type hard shade deck facing the stern of the boat as it is a solid surface (not canvas) and could be a weight bearing platform. With those 2 changes he would have a rig we could allow. His answer was quick and to the affirmative, “I’ll do it!” The commitment and excitement was fantastically refreshing. He began the process and sent in some of the pics of his work. Some of the messages of communication are included below and reveal and excitement and willingness on his part to do whatever it takes to travel and compete from Tampa to Ten Buck Two with the tour in 2022.

CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tour: “Jacob if we can remove any ability to operate the boat from the upper navigational platform and remove the extended casting platform behind where you are standing we may be able to accept that but where your feet are in the picture cannot be more than 5′ (60″) off the deck of the boat either.”

Jacob: “No problem I will get started on it today”… Jacob: “I couldn’t get the wheel off with the tools I have I’m about to run to the hardware store and see if they have a steering wheel removal tool in the store if not I’m going to have to order one from Amazon. Just giving you a heads up.”

Tour: “Ok, sorry for the hassle but it has to be removed, we can’t have any way to operate the boat from that elevated area.”

Jacob: “Nooooo I totally get it I actually think the rule is super cool !!!! I have no problem with doing this!!! It will be a fun challenge for me to!! I’m use to being able to drive from my tower. Thanks for working with me and letting me fish”… Tour: “Our pleasure!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just a few hours later the pictures began to come to our offices showing the efforts are already underway.

We just wanted to shine the spotlight an angler and team that want to compete at this level bad enough to put forth extraordinary efforts to do it. Jacob and Blake will test their skills at the Icebreaker Open February 4-5 in Slidell, LA and will do so competing against some of the best of the best and will do so on the most level playing field we can create. Our goal is to have all anglers and teams fishing from similar rigs and equipment and under a uniform set of rules as we attempt to put the focus back on the ability to locate, catch and land fish.

We are thankful for so many great anglers and even better people that while they may not agree 100% with every decision made by the tour to regulate and equalize equipment and techniques, they do realize a need to create a more level playing field and do support growing the sport, which is a lot more than just getting as many boats as you can to a boat ramp for a tournament. We can all do better and perhaps by taking a step or two back to what our sport used to be then we can move forward by leaps and bounds, most importantly by doing it…together! See more on the rules and regs for boats and platforms for 2022 HERE.

 

       Thank you Jacob, Blake and all of the anglers that have began preparing to compete with the Elite Redfish Series in 2022, we look forward to a new and great day in redfishing! ~The Commish

Follow these 2 as they help us kick off 2022 at the first event of the season February 4-5 in Slidell, LA.

 

Permanent link to this article: https://eliteredfishseries.com/florida-team-ready-to-go/