|Division: 8||Fort Pierce, Florida||FORT PIERCE SUMMER SLAM||September 7-8, 2012|
SPICED RUM III – Top SKA Team at Summer Slam
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.
The Spiced Rum started the day fishing in 80 feet of water due east of the Fort Pierce Inlet at a spot where friends had had some luck on Friday. They had just stopped and put out their first set of baits when around 6:45 their 39.87 ate a runner fished off of the Contender's T-top halfway back in their spread. Wayne picked up the rod and after a surprisingly short fight had the king along side of the boat for Billy to gaff. "It was still dark and we really couldn't see how big the fish was when I went to gaff it," Capt. Billy told me. "But when she hit the deck, I was ready to head back to the scales."
Team Labosco would finish in third place for the 38.55 pound kingfish that they caught at 8:00 in 50 feet of water due east of the Fort Pierce power plant. Fishing on the Mercury, Raymarine, Cannon and Labosco Jewelry sponsored Mercury powered SeaCraft were Barry and Patricia Hughes and Shane Murray. Because of other commitments their teammate, Dave McGaha, was unable to fish. Their big fish ate a runner slow trolled as a shotgun bait 150 to 200 feet behind their transom. Barry picked up the rod as the fish screamed line off of the reel. By the time that Patricia cleared the other lines and Shane got the SeaCraft headed in the right direction, the fish had stripped most of the line off of the reel. Fifty-five minutes later Barry had the fish close enough for Shane to gaff. Barry told me that they caught several smaller kingfish and Patricia caught a nice cobia. Along with several small sharks and some bonito they used over forty baits and had a great day on the water.
The crew of the Knot Scared, Michael Faurot's Yamaha powered Contender, started the day fishing east of the inlet and worked their way north to Bethal Shoals without finding a king, so they decided to head back south to the Northeast Grounds, twelve miles away from the inlet where they had previously caught a few nice kings. They got there around noon and as Mike Carter was putting out the first bait, their big fish grabbed a blue runner and took off. Back at the scales their heaviest king would weigh 33.53 pounds. Michael would like to thank M&M Marine and Interstate Battery of Palm City for all their help and support.
Mark & Audrey Henderson along with their sons, Joshua and Crockett made the trip south from Cape Carteret, N.C. to fish the Summer Slam on their Yamaha powered Intrepid, the Liquid Fire. The 2008 Top Angler of the Year told me that he and his family really enjoy visiting the area and has always done well fishing along this part of the South Florida coastline. They spent the week before the event pre-fishing from Palm Beach all the way north to Wabasso Inlet, but they consistently saw better fish early in the day within a few miles either way of the Fort Pierce Inlet. On Saturday they ran due east for twelve miles and stopped in ninety feet of water, put out their baits and by 6:45 had a thirty pounder in the boat. Mark told me that soon after they caught their first big king, they had another good fish on. Crockett fought the fish for ten minutes and had it close enough for them to see that it was much bigger than the kingfish they already had in their box - when a porpoise swam up and grabbed the smoker, pulled it off of their line and left town with lunch. Crockett caught their biggest fish, a 33.47 pounder around 12:30 when it ate a runner fished on a short flat line. For his hard work, Crockett would take home both the tournament's and the SKA's Top Junior Awards. The Liquid Fire is sponsored by Intrepid Powerboats, Yamaha Outboards, Accurate Reels, Cannon Downriggers, Simrad, Ameritrail and Stevenson Automotive.
Making the trip from St. Petersburg and finishing in sixth place was the PromarineUSA / Hannon's Cannon Yellowfin entry powered by a couple of Mercury and a Yamaha outboard. Skippered by Kevin Hannon with Jim Naset, Rick Cook, and Chris Blackwell fishing along with junior anglers Brady and Kellen Blackwell weighed a 32.52 that would earn the two young Blackwells the second place the tournament and SKA Junior awards as well as the $500 Mercury Scholarship prize.
Saint Augustine, Florida's Lewis Rogers, fishing with his daughter Elena along with co-captain B.J. Pearson and Shannon Armstrong would weigh a 32.18 fishing on their Bad Company Yamaha powered Contender to finish in 7th place followed by the Brunswick, Georgia based No Mercy / Dealer's Choice Yamaha powered Contender skippered by Steve Cunningham with Shawn Steverson, Ryan Tubbs, Ike Maulden, Lindsay Duffield and Lee Roddenberry on board. They weighed a 30.89 king to finish in 8th place.
Finishing in 9th place was the Bandit with a 30.85 followed in 10th place by a non-member team that weighed a 30.66.
Taking home the top award in the Small Boat category was the Gatorfan, David Albritton's 23' Yamaha powered Contender sponsored by the Fishing Center of Fort Pierce, Raymarine and Contender Boats. Fishing with David were Ashley Coe and the event's Top Senior Angler, David King. Albritton told me that they started the day fishing the same area as the Spiced Rum, saw them gaff their big fish and then spent some extra time in the area with hopes of finding tournament winner. After an hour or so all they would catch was a giant four foot long ribbon fish, so the trio continued north fishing several of David Kings secret grouper holes were they had previously caught some nice kingfish. As they made their way further north, they were able to catch eight or nine small kings and lots of sharks but no sign of a big king.
As time was running out they headed back to towards Fort Pierce and stopped in eighty feet of water just north of the inlet to give it one last shot before heading home. Around 3:00 something ate a goggle-eye and took off. Capt. Dave grabbed the rod and held on as the fish headed offshore. After chasing the fish for over a half a mile, Albritton finally made up some ground and after thirty minutes or so had the fish in range of Mr. King's gaff. David told me that the fish was foul hooked with one small treble on the top of his head and as soon as they hoisted their 34.54 pound king into the boat the hook fell out.
Kadri Benton and his crew fishing on their Suzuki powered Contender, the Piracy, would weigh a 30.84 to finish second in the Small Boat category and Rick and Angie Henley fishing with Tom Smith weighed a 24.51 to finish in third.
Many thanks go to Tournament Director's Joy Yancy and Missy Blandford along with Dina Hicks and Christie Roberts and the rest of their crew for a job well done. Way to go ladies – Everyone had a blast. As usual, Dean and everyone at the Fort Pierce City Marina went out of their way to make everyone feel at home. Thanks again guys!
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