Tourney reels in big bucks winner donates 10 percent to the Academy of Environmental Science (AES) Strikers and Citrus High School fishing teams.

Gwen Bittner

For the Chronicle

All American Airboat Tours owner George Kapiton was determined to garner support for local high school fishing teams. Kapiton solicited sponsors to fund half of the entry fees for 32 participants in the FLW Fishing Tour Bass Tournament on the Harris Chain of Lakes in early March on one condition: the winner donate 10 percent to the Academy of Environmental Science (AES) Strikers and Citrus High School fishing teams.

Kapiton and co-angler tournament winner Citrus County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Marine Unit Deputy Robbie Crosnoe met with high school fishing team members and coaches at The Cove in Inverness on Sunday to present teams with donation checks, hold fishing seminars and give away prizes.

“This is unbelievable,” Strikers coach Tony Powell said. “Every one of these students looks up to you guys.”

Crosnoe, an avid fisherman, caught 10 large-mouth bass over the two-day Lake County tournament March 9 and March 10 for a total of 33 pounds and 10 ounces of fish.

“It was a total of five fish a day, your heaviest 10 fish,” Crosnoe said.

He won $25,100 and donated $2,500 to the high school teams. Sodium Fishing Gear matched Crosnoe’s donation and Kapiton added another $1,000 for a total of $6,000 for the two teams.

“We’re going to do $2,500 to Citrus High School and $3,500 to AES,” Kapiton said.

Kapiton held talks with students Sunday on fishing strategies, knot tying, and bait rigging. Halo Rods donated a rod per person in the bass tournament and also gave eight rods to winners of a flipping contest Sunday in which students cast rods toward targets.

“It was an awesome, awesome deal,” Crosnoe said. “I’m just glad for All American Airboats being in the community and business owners for donating half our entry fee. It gets these kids something to do in Citrus County to keep them up the off the street.”

Funds donated to the two fishing teams will cover travel expenses, entry fees, equipment, tackle and jerseys for future fishing tournaments.

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