May 23, 2024 3 min read

The 13th Annual Cheeky Schoolie Tournament presented by Simms is a wrap.

The Saturday of the Tournament was a beast. The Cape weather came to play ball. Wind and driving rain, always a feature of the tournament, was unrelenting. Lacing up those wading boots and slipping on what was, undoubtably, a still moist jacket took real willpower this year.  But, for those who braved the elements, it was also a year that produced large striped bass.

From our fishing experience and what we heard from competitors, the fish could be hard to come by, but when you found them, they were big. Although low light flats fishing was a bit tougher, many found fish there, or in salt ponds and creeks. Some of the jetties were unfishable with the northeastern wind, but if you could find a perch, and the tide was right…hold on... you might find fish.

We had some astounding scores come in, topped by our winning team with 129.75 inches split between 4 fish. Team Hookshank Redemption (Mike Andresino & Tim Porelle) took the honors, the coveted Schoolie Blazer, and the mountain of gear from the sponsors. This was a tournament record by more than 10 inches set last year.

Second place went to Two Docs (Kevin Osantowski & Nate Fritts) with 126 inches while
3rd place was Team Schoolie (Chuck Scott & Marc Savaria) with 124.75 inches. Both took a haul of gear home. All three top teams, plus the next four would have won the tournament last year.

We also had a true beast landed by Eric Passante. A 39-inch dandy of a fish. The prize was a new Cheeky Spray.  In what is a quintessential Schoolie moment typifying the spirit of the tournament,  Eric gave up his prize to the youngest competitor, Roisin Ball, age 12! Maybe a second reel will find it’s way to her partner Hazel Collins age 14…who knows!

In our new “Brand Wars” division made up of fishing tackle industry pros, the Thomas & Thomas Team 'Getting Them Hey' of Reece McDowell and Connor Quigley captured the trophy, with 99.75 inches!

Photo by: Rick Griffiths

Our contribution to Catch and Release science was on display throughout the tournament as Dr. Andy Danychuk's lab led by Olivia Dinkelacker with UMass Amherst continued to utilize the event  the event to collect data on how striped bass respond to catch and release.

Photo by: Dr. Andy Danylchuck/UMass Amherst

Fly Fisherman Magazine’s Ross Purnell and Simms John Frazier commemorated the event by giving out the Conservationist of the year award to Peter Jenkins of American Saltwater Guides Association, donating an additional $10,000 to the cause.

Photo by: Simms Fishing/Carter Abramson

With that $10,000 and the $37, 540 raised by the tournament, we donated a whopping $47,540 to our partners ASGA, Stripers Forever, and Keep Fish Wet. Although we saw large fish, the younger age classes were lacking. This is a systemic problem and one that we have figure out if we want to have this fish around at all in the future.

Photo by: Rick Griffiths

We like to say that the best day at Cheek is the Sunday after the tournament because it is the longest point from all the blood, sweat and tears we put into the tournament every year. This is of course, not true. We love this tournament and seeing everyone enjoy themselves, make new connections and help support the fish we all love is worth it. We just need a nap on Sunday.

We have reached out to all the sweepstakes winners via email, so check those spam filters!