|Division: 4||St. Simons Island, GA||GOLDEN ISLES KINGFISH CLASSIC||August 23-25, 2012|
Nette One Nets the Big One at the Classic
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 a friend had fished during the Fort McAllister tournament the prior week in 80 feet of water, 40 miles northeast 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.
They went back to the same spot on Saturday trying to catch another good fish that would give them the aggregate award if someone else happened to find a bigger king. Ken and Jimmy were the first team back to the scales on Saturday and with lots of cheers from their friends watching from the dock, held up their 29.89 pounder for everyone to see. Their fish would be the second heaviest fish weighed on Saturday and give them a two fish aggregate of 74.77lbs—15 pounds heavier than the team that took home the second place check for the heaviest aggregate.
Jimmy has been a member of the SKA since 2001 and has finished in the top five several times but never won a tournament before. He would like to thank Buckshot at Hickory Bluff Marine and Contender Boats for all their help as well as Amy and Donna for putting on a great event and especially all his friends who took the time to stop by and cheer for the Nette One team at the awards.
Second prize was awarded to a non-member team for a two-day aggregate of 57.85 pounds and third place went to another non-member team for their 36.25 pound king.
The fourth place check for a 34.52 pound king that they caught on Friday would go to the Strike 2, Bill Bulfer's big Mercury powered Fountain. Fishing with Bill were Chris and Carter Hutchinson and Lance Turner. Bill told me that they started the day catching some bait just north of Cumberland Island before heading south to fish the DR Ledge, 11 miles east of the Red Top off of Jacksonville. He said that a friend of his had caught two 40s and a 50 there a couple days before. They caught three nice kings on Friday including their big fish that Lance caught after it ate a single pogie rig around 3:00 in 60 feet of water. They went back to the same area on Saturday looking for a better fish. They did catch a couple small kings but spent most of the day catching sharks. Carter Hutchinson would finish the tournament as the event's Top Junior Angler and also win the $500 Mercury Scholarship award. Bill would like to thank J.B. Engineering, Bulloch Marine in Statesboro and Atlantic Marine in Brunswick for all their support.
Savannah, Georgia's Robert Beck fishing with his son Robbie, Ben Craft, and Chris Wilson finished the St. Simons tournament in sixth place fishing on their Yamaha powered Contender, the Nauti-Gale. They stopped to fish over some live bottom just east of Gray's Reef where they previously had caught several nice kingfish. Robert told me that they were fishing in 100 feet of water for most of the day without any luck. Around 1:45 they had a 25 pounder eat one of their baits and after a short fight, came right to the boat. As they were putting out their next set of baits, their 30.24 pounder ate a blue runner that was swimming in the Contender's propwash. Robbie grabbed the rod and started to fight the smoker. Every time the fish got near the boat to gaff it would take off on another long run. After nearly an hour fight they were able to get her close enough to gaff.
Jerry and Jeremy Carter fishing with Jim Thomas on their new Yamaha powered Contender, the Reel Quick, would finish in seventh place for the 29.56 pound king that they caught on Friday. Jerry told me that they ran south to the CH Reef 14 miles east of Jacksonville where they caught several 20lb plus kings. Their big fish ate a single pogie rig fished on the surface in 70 feet of water around 10:30 while Jim was fighting one of the many sharks they caught both days of the tournament. Jerry picked up the rod and in no time had their big fish to the boat for Jeremy to gaff.
Ben and Megan Hinson fishing on their Mercury powered Contender, the Badsport, would take home the Golden Isle's eighth place check as well as the tournament's Top Lady Angler award for the 29.27 pounder that they carried to the scales on Friday.
The top finishing Small Boat was Zachery Wood's In Reel Deep who caught a 30.92 pound kingfish 20 miles east of the St. Simons Inlet at the Sweet Roll Rigs. Fishing with Zach on his Yamaha powered Contender were teammates James McKinzie, Zach Fultz, Daniel Pearson, and Tim Walling. Zachery told me that they were headed further offshore but stopped to fish around a large school of menhaden in 60 feet of water. The first bait that they put out was eaten by a 20-pounder so they decided to stay put. During the day they caught another eight or nine fish and around 4:00 they were getting ready to head back to the weigh when two baits got eaten at the same time. Since they were running out of time they put the pressure on and soon had both fish near enough to see that the fish that Daniel was fighting was much bigger.
The A Salt Weapon, David Futch's Yamaha powered Contender with Jay Swindell, Michael Godbee and Blake McMillan on board would take home the event's third place award in the Small Boat Division for their 29.02 that they caught on Saturday.
Can't say enough good things about the efforts put forth by the Golden Isles Classic tournament directors Donna Gowen-Poe and Amy Kidney and all of their crew for a job well done. With Donna's tournament experience, Amy's many years at the SKA, and SKA Charter Member (#003) Ken Murray's insight they sure know what it takes to put fishermen and women first at their event. Because of their hard work, this year the Golden Isle payout was 125% of the funds collected from entry fees.
Many thanks also go to Wendell Wells and his family at Wells Hauling in Pembroke, Georgia for sponsoring the SKA Junior Angler awards in Division 4. If you need any rock, sand, or gravel or if you need something moved, please give Wendell a call.
As this was the last event in Division 4 for 2012, congratulations are in order for all our Division winners. This is an extremely competitive group of fishermen and women and finishing at or near the top of these lists is a major accomplishment. The Open Class champion is Randy Howell's Hammer Time with 102.67 points, second is the No Mercy/Dealer's Choice with 97.05 points and finishing in third place is the Nauti-Gale with 92.32 points. The Div. 4 Small Boat champion is Bo Audesey's Code Red with a 94.96 three-fish total followed by the In Reel Deep with 93.04 points and the Max Effort with 92.13 points. Nita Morey fishing on the Max Effort is the Division 4 Top Lady Angler, Bo Crook, Jr, who fished on the Macon Time is the division's Top Junior Angler and the Code Red's senior angler, Hugh Robinson, finished first in the division. See you all in Biloxi!
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