|Division: 4||Shellman Bluff, Georgia||32nd ANNUAL SAPELO OPEN KING MACKEREL TOURNAMENT||July 27-28, 2012|
Hammer Time Tops Sapelo Open Kingfish Tournament!
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.
This is a great fishing team who obviously take their sport very seriously.
The Sapelo Open is a superb tournament thanks to Jimmy and Mamie Mason and their club members. They're longtime anglers and supporters of the SKA. Every year we go back to this event and each year they don't disappoint. From a great Captain's Meeting and party, to the event itself, they make it happen. When it comes time for the awards, they always come through. This year the event was based on 60 boats and we had 60 teams. They paid what they advertised, actually a little more than what they took in. As I talked to fishermen and women getting info for this story, I found most of them told me how great the event was and how much they appreciate the Sapelo Sportfishing Club.
The Tall Tail picked up $5,000 for a great second place finish. Scott and Wes Pope, plus Les Claxton and Jason Franklin caught and scaled a nice 31.35. The Yamaha powered Contender team fished Gray's Reef, one of the most popular fishing destination off the Georgia coast. "Yes, we were outside the no take boundaries," said Scott. "It was about nine o'clock when our king ate a pogy. I grabbed the rod and after a reasonable fight I got her to the side of the boat and Wes's gaff."
Scott went on to tell me that they bought bait from Lee but had bait on board that they caught. "This is an area we've fished for many years and we caught over 15 kings this trip. It was a great day," added Scott.
The first boat to the scale on Saturday was the Suzuki powered Sea Quest named Code Red. Bo Audesey, Tony Karwacki, Matt Poulos, Hugh Roberson, and Brian Gattie, teamed to earn third with a 31.27. This not only earned them third place money in the tournament, $3,000, but earned some great Pro Points also. This was a win-win for the highly experienced team.
"We caught bait on the beach before six a.m. and were at J Reef by seven when our first king we hooked up to got eaten by a 'cuda," Bo explained. "We caught other kings but at 10:30 our scaled king ate two baits. Two of us were fighting the same fish but we figured it out and got her in the boat."
The team thought the fish would go 35 pounds so they decided to take their time and come to the scale. They were first to weigh but were somewhat disappointed that the king was not as big as they thought.
Macon Time, a Yamaha powered Contender, earned fourth place honors with a 31.17. John and Bo Crook, Cory Black, Colby Bond, and Max Parmelee, fished 15 miles northeast of St. Simons Island. "We were in 65 feet of water at 9:15 when she ate a goggle-eye we purchased from Lee's Bait. My ten-year-old son, Bo, beat everyone to the rod but he didn't miss a beat bringing the king to our gaff. He's a great junior angler!"
This was a popular spot and John indicated they had a lot of company there. The team won $2,000.
The Reel Big Nasty team of Tommy Hunt, Keith Branch, Stephen Brantley, Foss Williams, Cole Hunt, and Rand Hendrix scaled a 29.33 to earn sixth. "We caught a teenager early before moving to the R2 Tower," Tommy explained. "We were putting out a Lee's goggle-eye around noon when she hit. Keith's son had the rod, but thinking this was possibly a winning king, passed the rod off thinking he might lose the fish." Good move! If the confidence level isn't quite there, he did the right thing. That was a money fish and at his age he's got a lot of time to gain confidence.
Big Fishin's 29.54 was the top fish in the Small Boat Class. Scott Harding, Marion Surrency, Michelle Harding, and Kevin Webb found a temperature break in 33 feet of water off a beach in North Florida. "She hit at 12:45 engulfing a pogy we had caught earlier that morning. I sunk the gaff into her shoulder after a short fight." The fish was worth $1,500.
Big Fishin is a good team that spends a lot of time working with and for their sponsors. They have to be very proud of the team. Hickory Bluff Marine, Daiwa Reels, NeSmith Chevrolet, Mercury, Yetti Coolers, Redfish One Hooks, Sea Angler Gear, and especially Dairy Queen who has been with them for the past nine years.
Chalk up second place in the Class to Mike and Nita Morey from the Johnson powered Hydra Sports named Max Effort. They bagged a nice 28.25.
As most teams in Georgia know, the Sapelo tournament was one of the first events we sanctioned back in '91. Since then the Sapelo Sportfishing Club has invested their revenue in a beautiful clubhouse where they hold the event. Thanks to Jimmy and Mamie Mason, who still fish with us, the club event has been a model for others to follow. We salute them, the Club members, and their abilities to put on a great event. They advertised a great payout based on sixty boats, which is what the competitors received. All tournaments could take a lesson from them!
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