Backcountry Fishing Association Wraps Up Successful 2020 Season

BCFA 2020 First Place Team: Andy Fantini and Chelsea Hampson.

The Backcountry Fishing Association (BCFA) tournament series is a nine-month circuit that runs from January through September, with a two-day final tournament—the Classic—held in October. The artificial lure only tournament gives two-person teams and solo anglers the opportunity to win cash and gain points. Redfish, trout and snook (seasonal) are the qualified species.  Anglers attempt to bring one legal fish of each species to the scales for weigh in and live release. Teams must participate in at least five tournaments to be eligible to fish the Classic. The top five eligible teams with the highest accumulated points from the season are given a bye from fishing day one. The remaining eligible teams compete on a elimination basis the first day, where only the top five teams of day one progress to day two to compete against the season point leaders for the grand prize and cash for the top four teams.

October Classic Results

Due to COVID interruptions this year, the five-tournament participation was waived, and teams had to have participated in at least three tournaments to be eligible to fish the Classic. There was a three-way tie for fifth place this season. The top five eligible teams with the highest accumulated points from throughout the season and the top five teams from day one of the Classic, competed for cash and prizes Sunday, Oct. 4.

BCFA President Andy Fantini and Chelsea Hampson took first place with a beautiful October red that weighed in at 7.43-pounds and a 4.03-pound trout, with a combined weight of 11.46-pounds. The team collected $2522.50.

Second place and the trout Calcutta went to Chris Damon and Lewis Arnold. This team brought to the scale a 3.76-pound trout and a 2.06-pound redfish, with a total combined weight 5.82-pounds. They won $1513.50 for second place and $90.00 for the trout Calcutta.

Third place went to George Davis and Luke Lloyd with a 5.55-pound redfish, which also took the redfish Calcutta. The team won $1009.00 for third place standing and $80.00 for the redfish Calcutta.

Fourth place went to Hanna Lorentz and Sean Tillett. The couple caught a 2.19-pound trout and a 3.16-pound redfish, for a total weight of 5.35-pounds. They won a bucket, tackle, and a Bluetooth sound bar. (Thank you, Doug James for the sound bar.)

Kevin Slade and Zach Foltz took fifth place in the October Classic with a 3.66-pound trout. This team won a bucket of fishing items and $100 Meltra Trailers gift certificate.

Joe and Matt Canestrari took sixth place with a 2.65-pound trout; Troy Wilson and Tim Woodward seventh place with a 1.18-pound trout; and eighth place winners, in no particular order were:

Kyle and Tyler Engelmann , Kyle Schacht and Kyle Espich, David and Elijah Young, Jesse Howell and Drew Deck, and Lora and Monty Peters. All these teams received a bucket filled with fishing items.

Tournament sponsors included East Coast Signs and Shirts, Danco, Whites Tackle, FL DNA, Salt Fly Pioneer, Nau-T-Girl Jewelry, ZF Custom Rods, Indian River RV, Doug James, Meltra Trailers, Weedline Apparel, Smith Sunglasses, and Mang.

End of season awards

  • Redfish of the Year. The winning fish was caught during the March tournament by team #17, Jordan Hartwell and Mike Brady. The redfish weighed in at 6.95-pounds. PRIZE: A ZF Custom 7-foot 8-inch rod.
  • Snook of the Year. The winning snook was caught during the September tournament, team #5 Drew Deck and Jesse Howell. They brought to the scale a 9.49-pound snook. PRIZE: ZF Custom 7-foot 8-inch rod
  • Trout of the Year. The winning trout went to team #38, brothers Kyle and Tyler Engelmann. It was pops, Rich Engelmann who filled in as an alternate for the July tournament and caught the 6.97-pound trout. PRIZE: They won a ZF Custom 7-foot 6-inch rod.
  • Slam of the Year. There were only two slams for the season. The slam of the year was caught during the March tournament by team #12, Matt and Joe Canestrari. This team brought to the scale a 1.20-pound trout, 6.18-pound redfish, and 6.30-pound snook, for a total weight of 13.68-pounds. PRIZE:  Two 7-foot, 6-inch Bull Bay rods.
  • Lady Angler of the Year.  Chelsea Hampson who won the title of Lady Angler for January and September tournaments took this division. For each of these tournaments, Chelsea caught a redfish with a combined weight of 8.90-pounds. PRIZE: Nau-T-girl Jewelry and gift basket, and a Salt Fly Pioneer Custom Rod.
  • Team of the Year.  Placing in five of the six tournaments, taking first in one those tournaments, team #2, Kevin Slade and Zach Foltz, grinded out all year long earning themselves the title Team of the Year. Each angler received a $600 gift package, which included a Yeti bucket, Shimano reel, Smith sunglasses, $50 Weedline gift certificate and Danco pliers.

2021 Season

The 2021 season kick-off with captain’s meeting will take place Jan. 1, with fishing on Saturday, Jan. 2.

BCFA Association Growth

Over the past year, the BCFA has continued to grow. With 67 teams and a total of 134 members, 39 boats per tournament were averaged despite the challenges presented by COVID-19.

For more information about membership, visit the Backcountry Fishing Association Facebook page or email