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Toby is Back! And Ready for the Mudfish Challenge

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There are sad times right about now as turkey season has come to an end. I miss it already; I managed to put nineteen longbeard turkeys in front of eleven hunters for my personal score of the season. Eight of those big strutters got to take rides to a mix of northern states, and there were three others shot at. Hey, I can’t help it if they miss; I can’t kill them for them.

I’d saved the last week of the season for myself, my family, and local friends to hunt, but that didn’t work out. I spent the last week of turkey season in the hospital with a blood clot in my lungs. Yeah, close call, but I’m mending up just fine. But now that turkey season is over, I’m changing gears and will be ready to do a little fishing.

The Toby Benoit Mudfish Challenge is not your typical fishing event. It’s the first annual, and I’m thrilled to be hosting it! I won’t delve into the details of how this unique challenge came to be, but I can assure you, it’s going to be a memorable experience.

Here’s the challenge: I’m daring you to break the current state record for a mudfish, which stands at a mere nineteen pounds. Considering the impressive mudfish catches many of us have made over the years, I’m confident it’s within reach. And if you do manage to break the record, I’ll personally reward you with a thousand dollars.

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This event, coming up on May 4 in Nobleton, is being held at the historic Waller Retreat. How I propose this competition is for all registered competitors to begin fishing at daylight, the morning of May 4, in any body of water to which they have legal access. Weigh-in will take place between noon and three o’clock in the afternoon.

I love catching mudfish; they are the most powerful of all of the freshwater fish and are actually easy to find. Whether fishing with artificial or other bait, they rarely turn down an opportunity for a free meal and seem to eat all day and night, both rain and shine.

Now, if nobody breaks the record, there’s still going to be a hefty purse on the line for the top three winners in both the adult and youth divisions. Along with some beautiful and stylish trophies and many other sponsored prizes, it’s going to be well worth your signing up and being a part of this unique, family-friendly event. It’s the only one of its kind in beautiful Hernando County!

Well, I truly hope to see you all there. After the most recent reminder of my own mortality, I just want to meet as many of you as I can and thank you for so much kindness you’ve shown this column over the years. There will be great food provided by Bree’s Provisions of Istachatta and vendors to visit too; bring your loved ones and come visit with me, or better yet, sign up to fish it and give me a chance to hand you the cash!

As always, I’d love to hear from you, and if you’d like to know more about the first annual Toby Benoit Mudfish Challenge, reach out to me at [email protected]. God Bless, and good hunting…. and fishing too!

Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit
Toby Benoit is a best selling novelist and professional outdoorsman with thirty-five years of experience guiding and outfitting for big game all across America. Toby is a renowned archer and turkey hunting expert who manufactures custom game calls and is a regular judge at NWTF sanctioned turkey calling events across the Southeast.
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