Stalvey & Caldwell Win the Rodeheaver Boys Ranch event on St Johns River

Vance McCullough


Lee Stalvey and Jason Caldwell won the 2021 Rodeheaver Boys Ranch Bass Tournament out of Palatka City Docks on the St Johns River on Saturday, March 13 with a 5-bass limit that weighed 29.94 pounds and included a 10.58-pound kicker that took Big Bass honors as well.

The big fish garnered a $1,000 bonus on top of the $7,500 top prize that Stalvey and Caldwell won. She was their first fish of the day.

“Caught her on the 2nd flip of the day,” shared Stalvey. “She bit on the first one but didn’t have the bait well. When her tail came up and it was huge. Then, on the next flip I hooked her. She just kept getting bigger as I got her to the boat.”

Stalvey and Caldwell caught their fish by looking at them. Pre-tournament scouting was key. Caldwell and Stalvey had both located 10-pounders on Friday, but they made their first stop Saturday on the big girl that they believed would bite more quickly than the other. It was a good call.

When sight-fishing, it’s important to locate more fish than you think you need to. “It’s been so warm lately that things are changing really fast,” said Stalvey. “There were a bunch of fish up (on the bank) this week but today they were just. They spawn quickly and get done fast when it gets warm.”

This year’s Rodeheaver tourney featured 139 boats including a lot of the top sticks in the North Florida region. Together, along with the generous sponsors, they were able to cut a check to the Boys Ranch in the amount of $18,550. This is a big help as the ranch does not receive any Federal funds, relying solely on the community to help set these young’uns on the right path.

As they say at the ranch, “It’s better to build boys than to mend men.”