Pahmeier, Wright Win in First Ever 'Poling Olympics'

Phil Simmons

MOSQUITO LAGOON, FLORIDA – In the first ever event of its kind, anglers gathered in the central area of Mosquito Lagoon Saturday, April 9th, to compete against the clock – and their fellow anglers – in the Mosquito Lagoon Poling Olympics.

Mosquito Lagoon Poling Olympics
Captain Bryan Pahmeier poles across the finish line to claim first place in the Full-sized boat category at this weekend's 'Mosquito Lagoon Poling Olympics.'

This friendly competition sought out the fastest boat teams whose sole means of propulsion is man-power with only the aid of a push pole. A 150 yard course set in shallow water pitted flats anglers against the clock to see who was "The King of the Flats" when it comes to covering water in the least amount of time.

The original idea for this event came from the Inshore-Fishing forum members and was developed, promoted, and run by Inshore-Fishing.com in the first of several events we'll be hosting.

Competitors were divided into two categories based on outboard motor size. Outboards under 40hp outboards were placed in a “small craft” category, while boats powered with 40hp and above were placed in a “full-sized craft” category. Competitors in both categories ran the same course. As expected, the lighter boats in the small craft category had some impressive times, with Curtis Wright of Titusville, Florida coming in first with a time of three minutes, twenty-five seconds. The full-sized craft had a larger field of competitors, but Capt. Bryan Pahmeier, also of Titusville, overcame his competition to take first in that category (and overall) with a finish time of three minutes, twenty-two seconds.

The location for this event, the Western edge of Tiger Shoals, was chosen not only for its central location, but also for its relevance to the event; the proposed Poll/Troll zone sits just to the East of the location, opposite the shoal. Part of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge’s plan to preserve the natural habitat of the lagoon’s grass flats, the Poll/Troll zones will prohibit use of any outboard motor within the approximately 3,000 acre exclusion zone.

The idea of the Poll/Troll zones have been strongly supported by many conservation-minded anglers who frequent Mosquito Lagoon. Shallow grass flats provide a haven for many animals, not least of all the Redfish, the lagoon sport fishermen’s primary target.

“Guys who run their boats on the flats around here will have to pole this whole area to fish it… so they might as well get good at it now!” commented one participant. And as our participants competing in the event showed, many Mosquito Lagoon anglers are ready.


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