About the SKA
The Southern Kingfish Association tournament trail started in 1991 with events
in North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida—17 events in all. The first year, Intrepid gave
us a 30-foot boat, Mercury supplied the motors, HydraSports gave away 20 footer, and Penn gave us some
rods and reels. Carolina Skiff provided a boat for the top junior angler.
It was a very turbulent first year. Anglers were reluctant to join. We really had our work cut
out for us.
Clayton Kirby was our first Champion which certainly helped. He was probably the best fisherman
fishing for king mackerel and his participation meant a lot.
Over the years the association grew into the largest saltwater tournament trail in the country.
By 1999 we were doing more than 40 events a year.
There are people within the industry that can be credited for ensuring SKA' s success: Doug Babbs
of Ranger Boats, Dan Schaad of Mercury Marine, Marty Bistrong of Contender Boats, and Reggie
Fountain of Fountain Powerboats, just to name a few. Then sponsors like Mercury, Fountain,
Loadmaster Trailers, Ranger Boats, C&H Lures, Berkley, Igloo, Penn, and Turbo Props bolstered
the credibility of the Association.
The SKA continued to grow with Divisions in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Florida,
Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas with over 40,000 avid anglers fishing the
events. Not all of those were members, but it shows the popularity of the sport. Many
authors have voiced their opinion over the past few years in articles that kingfish
just may be the most popular game fish in the ocean.
It's been an exciting journey! We've made giant strides in conservation efforts even
though we kill fish. Kingfish stocks are in their best shape since the roller rigs in
the Gulf of Mexico nearly wiped them out in the early 80s. Tournaments, which used to
collect three fish per day from teams, are now collecting one. We support and fund
the University of South Florida's College of Marine Science to do research on
endangered species or marine enhancement projects. The Mercury Tournament Trail
is more family oriented than ever before. I often refer to this as a lifestyle
rather than a tournament trail. We've watched our kids fishing the trail grow up,
go to college, get married, then still fish with their family. We are also proud
of the fact that, together with our sanctioned events, tournaments raise over a
million dollars a year for local charities, scholarship programs, and local marine
The Southern Kingfish Association continues to grow. It's something Deona and I
are very proud of but while many want to give us credit, the credit goes to all
those who fish with us and wanted the association to be a success. Without their
passion for the sport and their desire to be recognized for their accomplishments,
there would be no SKA.
If your passion is tournament fishing, there is no better way to unleash your fishing
talents. There is no better saltwater sport in the world. Not only can you win a lot
of money but if the spotlight is your cup of tea, this is your road to travel. What
are you waiting for?
Support Those That Support Our Sport!