40 Special Olympics athletes enjoy a day of fishing


VENICE – It was a beautiful day in Venice for the 16th Annual Shark Tooth Fishing Tournament sponsored by the Venice Police.

Kelli Peyton volunteered to help Adam who she met 16 years ago at the first ever tournament. She will continue to do this every year.

“Because of people like him. Yup. It’s a good thing. It’s important to be out here with the athletes and show that we have a good relationship with them,” said Peyton.

Specific fishing guidelines were created to ensure the safety of the athletes on a windy day with rough waters.

“If it was just the captains that would be nothing, but with these special athletes we didn’t want to put them in danger or put them in a situation that it might be frightening to them or intimidating,” said Craig Marcom of Sea Tow Venice.

The captains were told how far they could each take their boats out.

“It goes approximately from the Venice fishing pier to the South which is about three miles south of the Jetty, the spot about 3 miles north of the Venice Jetties, and then once again 5 miles out. Also the inshore areas north about 5 miles and then south to about Manasota beach bridge area,” said Marcom.

But regardless of all of that… The athletes still had fun… Even those like Adam Bell, who couldn’t go out on the boat, but did fish at the Marine Max dock.

“I had fun even though I didn’t get to go out. We had a good day fishing,” said Bell.

The tournament was all catch and release.

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Jessika Ward
Jessika Ward is a Sarasota native and an award-winning multimedia journalist. She joined the Suncoast News Network in February of 2018 and is happy to be back in her hometown. Jessika won three Florida Associated Press Awards while a student at Florida A&M University. Prior to coming to SNN, Jessika interned with WWSB ABC7 and worked as a videographer/editor at WTXL ABC27 in Tallahassee. ​​Jessika Ward is a proud rattler and Historically Black College and University (HBCU) advocate. She shares her HBCU experience in "Tell Them We Are Rising: The Story of Black Colleges and Universities,” a documentary about the history and future of HBCU's that was presented in the Sundance Film Festival and aired on PBS. Jessika's hobbies include photography, watching independent films, watching sports, and reading a good book.