Biloxi, Mississippi—"I can't believe it!" exclaimed David Linsinbigler, the owner of the Mercury powered Contender Penny-Less and a Division 10 qualifier. "I can't thank Alex Burgess, the team Captain, and James and Michael Wood enough. I battled cancer for two years and survived, then in '11 I had a kidney disease and was too sick to fish. I'm better now and am so proud of this team!" he went on.
Biloxi, Mississippi—The biggest challenge in our sport is to win a National Championship. Certainly many have tried, but each year the SKA can only honor one Championship team in each class. That said, let's all congratulate our newest Champions, Captain Vaughn Ford, Graeson Ford, Walt Nelson, and Don Poling, teammates on the Mercury powered Onslow Bay named Reel Thrill/Team Bone Suckin' Sauce. The team also won the Small Boat Championship in 2010 and they are the first team ever to win the title twice in the Small Boat Class!
Swansboro, North Carolina - The Hot Rod, Brett and Alan Barnes' Yamaha powered Contender would weigh a 46.88 on Saturday and follow it up by weighing the 47.12 pound tournament winner on Sunday to take home both the first and second place awards at this year's 32nd edition of the Swansboro Rotary Club's King Mackerel Tournament presented by Stevenson Chevrolet.
Brett told me that they fished both days on the East Side in sixty feet of water about a forty-five mile ride from the Hammocks Beach State Park weigh-in site. Around 9am on Saturday their second place finishing king ate a menhaden fished on the surface way back in their spread. Brett told me that the fish nearly spooled their reel on its first run and they had to clear the other lines and quickly point the boat at the fish to chase it down before it could break them off. Their Sunday fish also came early in the day after it ate another pogie, this time in the middle of their spread. The bigger fish didn't put up much of a fight and was soon close enough to the boat to gaff.
Treasure Island, Florida—Economy Tackle with Mark Goodwin leading the team came to the Gator's dock and presented Sid Rice with a nice 34.17. "This was the best fish we've caught in two years," said a happy Goodwin. But it was short lived as a couple of boats later, David Heavenridge slid up to the dock. When asked if he had a good fish, he responded, "It will do, but I don't think this is the winning fish." He was then told what Goodwin had caught, and he responded, "ours might go that," smiled for the camera and headed for the scale. After fighting his way through the big spectator crowd he gave his name and number to the scorekeeper then helped get the king on the scale. Sid called out, "34.21!" For now, Heavenridge had the slimmest of a lead.
Naples, Florida - Division 11 came to an end with the completion of Mambo's fall event in beautiful downtown Naples, Florida. It was a big event for the Nor-Tech sponsored team of Matt Tarrance, Jerry Solovskoy, and Mike Penny, who scaled a nice 37.76 for the win. Nor-Tech has been a sponsor of this event for many years. But the big news came when tournament promoter, Alberto "Mambo" Abad, announced that this was his last event. Mambo is a local architect, and has a wonderful family, who both are taking more of his time. The SKA lost both a spring event and this fall event in D11, which for the time being eliminates this division. However, the big loss was Mambo who for the past several years has produced some of the best events in the country. You have to remember that D11 is not a big Division. Very few of our members come from this area but a lot of fisher people love to come to Naples and fish Mambo's event. It was always first class! On behalf of all the fisher people who loved your event, we thank you "Mambo". You've earned a very special place in our hearts.
Little River, South Carolina – After last year's cold, damp and windy weather, the ninety-one teams participating in the 10th anniversary edition of the Little River Inlet Saltwater Fishing Club's Rumble in the Jungle were treated to a gorgeous sunrise along with calm seas and just a little breeze as they checked out for the Bimini start that would send them speeding toward their chosen destination.
Murrells Inlet, South Carolina - The first boat to the scales and taking home the tournament's top prize at this year's edition of the Marshwalk Kingstalk was the Yates-Sea, David Yates' Yamaha powered Contender. Fishing with David was his dad, David, Clinton Beck, Lou Tocci and Frank Hill. David told me that they left Charleston, caught some baits, and headed offshore 25 miles to the "Not So Secret Hole" where he had traditionally caught some great fish in September. "When we got there the whole area was covered with large schools of Spanish mackerel and conditions looked great," he explained. "We caught a small fish early, but that was it."
Atlantic Beach, North Carolina – Skip and Sandy Conklin's Mercury powered Privateer, the Ocean Athlete, idled up to the McCurdy's Restaurant dock just as the scales opened on the first of two days fishing at this year's addition of the Bluewater Promotion's Atlantic Beach Saltwater Classic. They carried their big king up the dock and handed her over to tournament director Terry Adkins to be weighed. When the scales settled down, Adkins shouted out 43.53 pounds, the crowd cheered and Skip and Sandy crossed their fingers as ninety other teams still had a couple days to weigh a bigger fish. When all was said and done, the first fish weighed at the event would hold on to the lead for the entire tournament and earn the Ocean Athlete the event's top prize as well as a $15,000 certificate for the purchase of a new Contender. Sandy would also capture the cash and jewelry awarded to the tournament's Top Lady Angler.
Orange Beach, Alabama - "This was a very good weekend for us," said an excited Marcus Kennedy as he worked to release his catch from the caverns of his Yellowfin. After he and his team of Max Williams, Robert Young, Jonathan Graham, and Todd Kercher held up their 55.39 for pictures, Marc went on to tell me of their extraordinary day fishing the Kajun Sportsman King Classic event in Orange Beach, Alabama.
Fort Pierce, Florida - Sporting a shiny new set of Yamaha outboards and a fancy new wrap, the crew of the Spiced Rum III pulled up to the weigh-in dock not long after the Fort Pierce Summer Slam scales opened at 3:00. On board the big Contender sponsored by Tuppen's Marine and Tackle, Yamaha Outboards, Sailfish Marina, the Medical Center of the Palm Beaches, Gill Media, Gordon & Donner, United K-9 and Pito's vodka were skipper Billy Wummer along with teammates Sherri and Wayne Beswick and Freddie and Tony Joseph. Their big king would weigh just under 40 pounds and top the leaderboard for a short while until a non-member team carried a 43.56 to the scales that dropped the Spiced Rum to a second place finish in this year's final Division 8 event.
Southport, North Carolina – No one on the C-Sick was throwing up as they coasted up to the South Harbour Village Marina's facedock just as the scales opened at 3pm. Onboard their Yamaha powered Mako were Bruce, Stacy, and Junior Angler Hailey Brown. As soon as Capt. Jerry Dilsaver attached a tag to the fish's tail and Jack Holmes took their picture for Angler magazine, they quickly jumped out of the boat and headed up the dock to where Bluewater Promotions' tournament director, Terry Adkins, was waiting to weigh the first fish carried to the scales at this year's Brunswick Island Saltwater Classic. Adkins quickly put the tail rope on the fish and hung it on the scales. In a loud voice he announced that the C-Sick's big king weighed in at 33.04 pounds.
St. Simons, Georgia – Jimmy Bruner's Nette One was the second boat to the scales on the Friday, the first day of fishing at this year's Golden Isle's Kingfish Classic held at Gascoigne Bluff Park on St. Simons Island. Fishing with Mr. Bruner on his 23' Contender was his teammate Ken Fields. Their first day fish weighed 44.88 pounds and held on to the lead to win the tournament's $15,000 top prize. With a big smile on his face, Mr. Bruner told me that they fished the same area that they had fished during the Fort McAllister tournament the prior week in 80 feet of water, 40 miles south of St. Simons. He told me that they had just put out their baits Friday morning when their big king ate a blue runner they were fishing way back in their spread. Jimmy, who is the team's dedicated rod man, picked up the rod while Ken cleared the other lines and ran the boat. He told me that Ken is a little wary about gaffing a big fish so he handed the rod to Ken when their fish was close enough to gaff and Jimmy loaded her into the boat. Ken told me that they caught and released five smaller fish on Friday.
Biloxi, Mississippi—Marcus Kennedy and his Kwazar team members, Max Williams, Robert Young, Brett Rutledge, and Tyler Kennedy, had a big day fishing the South Pass oil platforms. I believe they were the only ones who went southwest out of Biloxi. "The fish are everywhere right now," explained Marcus to me. "Tarpon fishermen are even catching kings in the 30-pound range in the Bay right now." Marcus told me that at this time of year you've got to have ribbonfish and you have to troll them deep. "We trolled ours 80 feet deep around the Main Pass rigs when at noon she hit. Max brought her to the boat." They had one other king on board that was in the mid-40s. "It was a great day on the water, I'm just a little disappointed she didn't go 50 but we still got the win for the tournament and the Pro Tour."
Charlestown, South Carolina– Retired marine, Nick Russell, (age 77) fishing with Shelly Smith and Tom Ogle, on their 23' Yamaha powered Key West Boat weighed a 43.93 pound king soon after the scales opened on day one of the 19th Annual Key West Boats/Fishing for Miracles KMT and after chewing their nails for the next 24 hours or so they stood on the Ripley Light Yacht Club stage to accept the event's top prize as well as the cash awards for the tournament's largest fish, the first place finishing 23' and under boat, as well as a $1,000 check for being the tournament's top finishing Key West boat.
Sneads Ferry, North Carolina—Al Morris, Brent Bunn, and Andy Hinton had a very special day on the water fishing the Sneads Ferry King Mackerel Tournament, a Division 1 event. "I love this event," quipped Morris. "We've had several top three finishes plus we won the event in '03." Now they can add another win on their resumé scaling a very special 52.69.
Richmond Hill, Georgia- No Mercy/Dealer's Choice certainly has to be considered as one of the top teams fishing Georgia waters and the SKA Pro Tour. Gary Ryals, Shawn Steverson, Ike Maulden, Lindsay Duffield, John Hall Jr., and Ryan Tubbs, made this back-to-back wins for the Yamaha powered Contender team. "Wow, this is very special for us," said team Captain Gary Ryals. "We made the mistake of not making the Captain Hap's event a Pro Tournament for us and we won that one. We didn't make that mistake here and picked up a much needed 1,000 points."
Georgetown, South Carolina – After being postponed for a weather forecast promising twenty-five knot winds and eight foot seas, and changing the fishing day from Saturday till Sunday on its new dates, participants in the Tailwalker Marine Offshore Challenge were blessed with a slight southwest breeze and surprisingly calm seas when they checked out Sunday morning. Quite a nice surprise after the blow that had everything stirred up for the three or four days prior to the event. At the end of the day lots of nice kings were carried up the Georgetown Landings Marina's docks to be weighed.
Swansboro, North Carolina—A team called Chaos won the Onslow Bay King Mackerel Tournament with a great 42.09 but were part of a handful of teams who were not SKA members giving the win in our ranks to the Red Bull/Sawyer Fishing Team. Here's the kicker, the majority of the team, Mike, Johni, Mikey, and Chris Sawyer live in New Jersey. Mike's father, Rodney, and Vick McConnell live in Morehead City. Together they fished the Red Bull/Sawyer Fishing Team into the top SKA slot in the event scaling a nice 37.90. They came to the dock right behind the Chaos in their Mercury powered Donzi.
Darien, Georgia—The rains and heavy seas certainly played a role in Howard Poe's Captain Hap's event this year. It may have cost Howard a few boats, but we consider 44 teams showing up a real good job. You have to know that Division 4 competitors are a hardy bunch and they are true competitors. With that said, congratulations to the No Mercy/Dealer's Choice team who scaled a 41.65 to earn the number one slot and $5,000. Gary Ryals, Shawn Steverson, Lindsay Duffield, Ike Maulden, and John Hall Jr. used local knowledge to go to Henry's Hole, an old number the team had in their plotter. They were about 30 miles southeast of the tournament site.
Sullivan's Island, SC – With big smiles on their faces and a few fist pumps, Billy Powell, Jason Hogg, and Wayne Landon anchored up their Low Country Native, Mercury powered Onslow Bay and waited patiently for well over an hour for the Sullivan's Island Saltwater Classic scales to open. They slid up to the dock a couple minutes before the 3:00 weigh in time and proudly opened their fish bag for me to take pictures and to point them up the ramp to the scales. Everyone cheered as Bluewater Promotions Tournament Director, Terry Adkins, waited for the scale to settle and shouted out that the Low Country Native's fish weighed 46.28 pounds, a super sized fish just a couple pounds shy of the SKA's South Carolina record and a great fish to start the event.
Fernandina Beach, Florida—John and Barbara Adcox fished the Barbara Ann, a Yamaha powered Wellcraft, into the top slot in the Kingfish Division of the 30th Annual Nassau Sportfishing Association's Rodeo. It was their first win in SKA competition, but they've had numerous top ten finishes. I got the call while standing on the Fernandina weigh-in dock from John, "We've got a good fish, a real good fish, and will be in soon," he told me. I love getting these calls.
Venice, Louisiana – The Wild Ride crew made the long run from North Carolina south to the Mississippi River delta and took home the top prize at this year's West Delta Kingfish Invitational held at Bill and Mike Butler's Venice Marina. Soon after their arrival in Venice, Skipper Randy Griffin developed a high fever and by morning was so sick that he wasn't able to fish either day of the tournament. Craig Hughes took over the controls of the Mercury powered Fountain and along with Randy's wife Shayna, son Ayden, and Grandpa Randy Griffin, Sr. headed offshore Saturday morning.
Morehead City, North Carolina—Every tournament director's worst nightmare is bad weather on the tournament date. Sooner or later it happens to all of them. This weekend it was Bruce Andrews' turn. On day one the winds blew 25 to 30 out of the southwest so Bruce made it an either/or event. Rick Hill, who runs the Mercury powered Fountain R/C Homes, elected to make a 23-mile run on day one in the slop to the 1700 block. "This place has a history of big fish," he told me. "She hit a pogy on a flat line in 85 feet of water early in the morning. Close to nine o'clock we got the boat in order and went to the scale."
Shellman Bluff, Georgia—Randy Howell and Nelson Pittman ran the Hammer Time, a Yamaha powered Contender, into the top slot of the 32nd Annual Sapelo Open Kingfish Tournament and won the event's top prize of $10,000. After winning the Two-Way tournament in Division 4 the team made it two in a row. "We were inside the R2 Tower when at 7:30 our 34.95 ate a Lee's Bait blue runner on the surface," said Randy. "We were in 75 feet of water and had caught eight kings by nine o'clock. Plus we had a nice sailfish." Randy went on to tell me that they pay very close attention to the water and sea temperature.
Dauphin Island, Alabama—The largest fishing tournament in the world, as certified by Guinness World Records, kicked off July 20th amid stormy weather and rough seas. "It's not that it's so rough, just uncomfortable plus when you need to move it takes time, and time is something you don't have a lot of," said Bennie Goldman, Jr. after arriving back at the Rodeo grounds Friday afternoon.
The Reelentless team of Bennie Goldman Sr. and Jr., Jeremy Goldman, Pam Goldman, Jeffrey Hamilton, and John Wallington were one of the early arrivals and they presented head tournament Judge, Bob Shipp, a great 46.26. That fish held up as the top kingfish for Friday so the Reelentless team was on top of the leaderboard, but they also picked up 1,000 points for the SKA Pro Tour. That was so important because they went to Fourchon for the Upper Gulf season opener and had boat problems and could not fish.
St. Augustine, Florida—The Mellow Yellow team of Steve and Ryland Lucie, Jimmy McIntire, and Andy Pettit caught a 40-pound king mackerel on day one of the Ancient City Gamefish Association's Kingfish Challenge, which ultimately earned second place. The team fishes a beautiful 32' Yamaha powered Intrepid.
"We were 65 miles from the tournament site in an area called the Elton Bottom," Steve explained. "The bite actually started between eight and nine and lasted until 10:30. We caught a 15, next a 25, then the big girl couldn't resist a goggle eye we had deployed. Andy did the honors and we really felt good after she was in the boat. This was one of our days we claimed for the Pro Tour."
Jacksonville, Florida – Toney and Greg Altieri have a big problem. Just where to park the Key West Boat equipped with a Mercury outboard riding on a Loadmaster aluminum trailer valued at close to $40,000 that they just won for weighing the heaviest two fish aggregate at the 32nd Anniversary Edition of the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament. Consistency was the key to the Nut Deep’s Top Aggregate finish. Several boats caught one good king either Thursday or Friday, but couldn’t back it up with a second fish. Toney told me that they were in the same position with just a few minutes left on the second day of the tournament.
On day one, The Nut Deep, Toney and Greg’s Yamaha powered Mako, pulled up to the Jim King Park dock and weighed a 31.80 pound king that they caught around 7:45 on Thursday morning at the South East Hole, just three and a half miles from the tip of the Mayport Jetties. Greg caught their first day fish after it ate a blue runner in 48 feet of water. Although they caught several sharks the 31 pounder was the only king they saw all day.
Carolina Beach, North Carolina – 160 boats headed offshore at this year's edition of the East Coast Open, Got-Em-On Classic and after the dust settled, the Stress Reelief's 56.05 pound monster would take home the event's top prize with the second heaviest fish ever weighed in the tournament's long history. Their fish just missed beating the events record 56.60 that the Blew By U! team weighed in 2010.
Capt. Charles Lee has fished out of Carolina Beach his entire life and has run charters out of the Carolina Beach Inlet on his Stress Reelief Albemarle for a lot of years. He has caught several kings in the 40-pound range but his Got-Em-On winner is the largest kingfish that he has ever caught. Fishing with Capt. Charles were his daughter Anna, son Chad, Cady Brown and Fred Holland. Anna told me that he had hooked the fish around 11:00 after it ate a live pogy fished on the surface 15 miles east of the inlet in 70 feet of water. She also told me that because the big fish was foul hooked in the side it took her dad more than 50 minutes to get the smoker close enough to gaff. For their efforts, the Stress Reelief took home a check for more than $24,000.
Palm Beach, Florida- Ninety-five boats showed up to fish Big Dog & Fat Cat KDW tournament produced by Bill Wummer. You couldn't ask for a better day on the water or a better event held at the famous Sailfish Marina. It was a true kingfish, dolphin, and wahoo event with a snapper category thrown in for the bottom fishermen. Plus you could weigh up to five kings with both a big fish category plus the aggregate. A lot of members told me how much fun it was; a change in the usual format. It was also the final event of the year for Division 10.
A boat called Sword A Broke won the event and the top prize of $10,000 with a 40.8 pound king.
Jacksonville, Florida – Participants in this year's Jacksonville Saltwater Classic were blessed with a weather report calling for light winds and 20% chance of rain and for whatever reason NOAA got this one right. Seas were a little bumpy when everyone checked out but by the time they started fishing the weather couldn't have been better.
Lewis Rogers, fishing with his daughter Elena along with B.J. Pearson, Kristin summers and Carolyn Williams on the Bad Company headed southeast from the St. Johns River check out and ran to the proven fishing grounds at the Get Wet spot. Because the area was full of weeds and Lewis was tired of clearing their lines, he and B.J. decided to head north and look for clean water at a couple of numbers where they had previously caught fish. They tried a couple places but couldn't find any fish and continued their trip north.
Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina—The Ocean Isle Fishing Center's Jolly Mon King Classic spring event is an either/or tournament, meaning you can choose either Saturday or Sunday to fish, but not both. In the Division 9 opener, the top SKA team, Southern Bale, had the largest king on Sunday, a 37.50, but could not overcome the Snap One team who weighed a 41.60 on Saturday. Unfortunately, the Snap team missed out for this story because one of the guys on the team, Preston Nowell, failed to join the SKA. Good job, Preston!
Matt Gay, Vernon Jones, and Travis Rouse, who fish a Yamaha powered Contender, went to the Navy wreck after one throw of the cast net. "We pulled right in, threw the net, and came up with enough bait for the day," said Matt. "It was about eleven o'clock when our 37.50 ate a menhaden and Vernon grabbed the rod." They got her in the boat without much fanfare.
Brunswick, GA – Randy Howell, Nelson Pittman, Dustin Howell, and Curtis Tumlin from Waycross, Georgia, fishing on their Yamaha powered Contender, the Hammer Time weighed a 37.99 pound kingfish to take home the top prize at this year's 26th edition of the Two Way Sport Fishing Club's King Mackerel Tournament. "We fished an area just south of the Elton Bottom in 75 feet of water where we had previously caught some decent fish," said the excited captain. Around 8:15 their winning kingfish ate a blue runner on a long line. Dustin soon had the fish to the boat for Curtis to gaff. Randy told me that they caught three or four other fish during the day.
The second place check was presented to the In Reel Deep, Zachary Wood's Yamaha powered Contender. Fishing with Zachary were teammates James McKinzie and Tim Walling. They made the decision to fish an area 60 miles south and started slow trolling over some hard bottom in 110' of water. Around 9:15 their 35.75 pound king ate a big pogy fished on the surface.
Fourchon, Louisiana-Where could you go to participate in a kingfish tournament in which the first three fish weighed on day one of the event are over 50 pounds, the fourth is 49.31 pounds, and the fifth is a 46.11? Chances are that many SKA fishermen would say the Gulf of Mexico, but many more would excitedly shout out Venice or Fourchon, Louisiana. Guess what—all three could be correct but that's what happened at this year's 17th Annual Kajun Sportsman KMT held at Moran's Marina in Port Fourchon.
The first boat to the scales was the Backlash, Joe Shell, Jr.'s 23' Yamaha powered Cape Horn with Joe Shell, Sr., Darrell Schofield, and Chris Shell onboard. Joe told me that they had run about 50 miles to the south and fished in the 205 block where they had luck finding good fish over the past couple of years. They started trolling around one of the rigs and about nine o'clock a good fish skied on one of the hard tails they were fishing. Joe Jr. picked up the rod and held on as the big king headed toward the bottom.
Fort Pierce, Florida—Weighing the second largest king mackerel caught in an SKA event so far in 2012, Alex Burgess and his Penny-Less crew continues their sweep of this year's Division 8 events by carrying a 55.18 to the scales to take home the top prize in the Florida Police and Fire Games KMT. Fishing with Alex on their Mercury powered Contender were teammates David Linsinbigler and Jim and Mike Wood. They had pre-fished off of Fort Pierce on Friday and didn't find any fish. In conversations with friends, they had reports of some 30-pounders being caught a ways south between Jupiter Inlet and Juno pier so they made the decision to start the day fishing along the 100 edge off of Juno. "We caught a half dozen nice kings within the first half hour that we fished," said the excited skipper. "Mike had just released a small king and while we were turning around to make another pass something ate a runner and took off. Jim picked up the rod and set the hook on what we thought was another small king. The fish didn't fight much and came right to the boat. Since the water was so clear we saw her circling 40 or 50 feet down and we could see that it was a decent size fish but we were still surprised when Mike needed help lifting the big girl over the Contender's side."
Pompano Beach, Florida – Eighty-eight boats cleared Hillsboro Inlet on a mission to take home some of the cash awarded at the 17th Annual Mercury/SeaVee Pompano Beach Saltwater Slam, the second leg of the three-part Pompano Beach Saltwater Circuit. After the scales closed, three SKA teams topped the Slam's leaderboard and finishing in first, second, and fourth place.
Just like the earlier 2012 Saltwater Shootout, the Saltwater Slam format allows each team competing in the tournament to weigh as many as ten fish, but no more than four of each eligible species. King mackerel, tuna, dolphin, wahoo and cobia qualify. The total weight of a team's fish determines the overall tournament winner. Fishermen accumulate points in these two events and the top 75 teams qualify to take part in the PBSC Saltwater Showdown to be held on August 4th, 2012.
Jacksonville, FL - For the past couple of years North Florida has been under the influence of severe drought. Unfortunately, Mother Nature chose the weekend of the Third Annual GATE Jacksonville Fishing Rodeo to give us enough rain to eliminate the drought status. While I'm sure it cost the tournament many participants, 806 anglers did show up and that was another record for the Rodeo. When you factor an average of three anglers per boat that equates to 268 boats. Not bad; but remember the Alabama Deep Sea Rodeo, the granddaddy of all events, averages about 3,500 anglers each year which is the equivalent to over a thousand boats. It's no wonder they own the title of the largest fishing tournament in the world as certified by Guinness World Records.
St. Petersburg, Florida – The top finishing team at this year's Bluewater Promotions St. Petersburg Saltwater Classic was the PromarineUSA.com Mercury and Yamaha powered Yellowfin skippered by Kevin Hannon with Jim Naset, Rick Cook and, Arik Bergerman as well as junior angler Austin Naset on board. Kevin told me that they checked out from New Pass and ran south about 60miles to the same area where they had caught some 40-pound fish during the past two Division 11 tournaments. "Everywhere we went the water looked beautiful but the fishing really sucked," Hannon said. "I think that the full moon messed everything up and the only fish we saw all morning were a couple of AJ's." They hung in there and around 1:00 a nice kingfish ate a big runner fished on the surface. Kevin picked up the rod, set the hook and soon had their 42.81 pound tournament winning king to the boat for Mr. Naset to gaff. Their fish would earn them the event's top cash prize along with a $15,000 Contender Certificate and give young Austin the event's Top Junior Award and his dad the Top Senior prize. Kevin would like to thank Promarine, Dogfish Tackle, Fishermen's Ideal Supply and U-Flex Steering for all their help and support this year.
Beaufort, South Carolina—I was approached by Scott Jennings about the SKA getting involved with the Beaufort, South Carolina, Water Festival fishing tournament. I agreed and from the response we got believe this was a great decision. It has the making of a super event, but the date is just a little early. Bert Harvey, A.C. Harvey, David Morris, and Jim Roberts won the tournament with a 20-pound king mackerel. "We ran out of Point Royal and spent a lot of time getting bait," said Bert before accepting the guaranteed $10,000 top prize. "She hit right in the prop wash, Jim picked up the rod, but we didn't know if it was a king or a shark. There were a lot of sharks. We were excited when she came up, but didn't know if it would make the board."
Jensen Beach, FL – Calm seas and bright skies greeted everyone participating in this year's edition of the Jensen Beach Chamber of Commerce's Frances Langford Memorial Fishing Tournament. For the past several weekends, South Florida fishermen had faced 20-knot easterly winds and four- to six-foot seas and the promise of nice weather put a smile on everyone's face. Several nice fish had been caught up and down the coast and hopes were high that as in past years there would be several large kings weighed. NOAA had predicted that there would be a chance scattered rain storms in the afternoon, but as usual they got that all wrong. Just after noon, local radio stations were calling for heavy rain, hail and tornado warnings for the immediate area.
Fort Myers, Florida—Scott Rush, Brian Hasson, Rick Dean, and Gifford Kline agreed they had a good day. "Seas were two to three feet and mostly sunny, perfect for a good day on the water, so we ran 75 miles out and went to work but found nothing but sharks," said Rush. "We moved into 110 feet of water about 40 miles from the scale. At 2:30 our 44.21 bit the stinger bait first so I immediately dropped the half bait back and luckily she came back and ate it. It was a gift!" A $2,000 gift!
Pompano Beach, Florida – Despite the strong east wind and four- to six-foot seas, fishing was great for the 121 boats that participated in this year's edition of the Mercury/SeaVee Pompano Beach Saltwater Shootout, the kickoff event of the 2012 Pompano Beach Saltwater Circuit promoted by Bluewater Movements. To take home the Shootout's top prizes, teams may scale up to ten fish for points towards the overall tournament win. Teams can weigh up to four of each species— Kingfish, Dolphin, Blackfin Tuna, Cobia, or Wahoo. There are dozens of ways to cash a check in this event and SKA teams have always carried home more than their fair share of the cash.
Sarasota, Florida—Mark, Joshua, and Crockett Henderson came down from North Carolina to pick up their new 38' Intrepid from the factory in Clearwater for a shakedown run and to put some hours on the triple 350hp Yamahas sitting on the transom. Then they thought, what better way to determine how the new design was going to fish, than to christen her on the playing field of the NBOA Gulf Coast Open in Sarasota?
Sarasota, Florida—The Sarasota Sertoma Club's 18th Annual King Mackerel Tournament kicks off Florida's west coast Division 6. This has always been a fun event to fish, but this year was not what anyone considered fun. While people in the Midwest were playing "dodge the tornados", the forty-boat tournament fleet was fighting rough seas thanks to heavy winds that came from way south fueling the midwest weather.
"The weather took its toll on us and our equipment but we racked up a nice win, great points for the Division, plus super points for our first Pro event," said Matt Tarrance, captain of the team.
Palm Beach, Florida—The Greater Palm Beach 440, benefiting the Friends of 440, was scheduled to be a two-day event on Saturday and Sunday. Unfortunately Saturday was totally un-fishable due to east winds that made the inlets un-passable. Sunday saw seas come down to four to six feet but caution at the inlets was still the order of the day.
David Linsinbigler, Alex Burgess, plus Jim and Mike Wood topped the leaderboard in the Greater Palm Beach 440 scaling a great 48.02. This win also gave the team 1000 points in their quest to win Team of the Year honors in this year's Pro Tour. The team fish a Mercury powered Contender,
Naples, Florida—The season cranked up for Division 11 with Mambo's Spring Kingfish Shootout, a totally awesome event. Especially for Paul Michele, Ozzie and Christian Fischer, plus D.J. Wood who scaled the final fish of the day, a 46.58, and won the event fishing Team Awesome!/Navionics.
Unlike other years when you only had one choice at this time of year, to run south, temperatures in the 80s and 90s this year have the fish running to the north as fast as their little tails will propel them. The team knew this and ran their Small Boat Class Yamaha-powered Andros west/southwest of Naples. "We tried to run south but it was just too rough to make time running so we looked at some old numbers we found and used a couple of years ago and headed west," said Paul. "We fished a ledge in 65 feet of water about 38 miles from the scale. We had a great day and caught a lot of good fish."
Key West, Florida - The Bimini Twist team caught a 54.73 on the first day of the 16th Annual Key West Harbour King Mackerel Tournament and walked away with the event's $7,000 top prize. "We had a great day on the water, catching fish all day long," said Grant Johnson. "We fished the Atlantic side in 78 feet of water, basically near the Banana Bar, which was 37 miles from the channel. She ate a fresh blue runner about eleven-thirty. Jerry Stephenson grabbed the rod and the fight was on."
Grant went on to tell me that they never stopped for bait, catching them while still trolling.
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