|Division: 3||Charleston, SC||19th ANNUAL KEY WEST BOATS - FISHING FOR MIRACLES KMT||August 16-18, 2012|
Sweet Sarah IV Wins Some Sugar and Spice and a Whole Lot of Cash at Miracles KMT
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.
Nick told me that they fished an area over some live bottom in 90 feet of water, 30 miles due east of the inlet. Their winning fish ate a pogy fished WWB (way, way back) at 8:40 Friday morning. "As soon as the fish was in the boat, I told my crew that if we didn't win this year we weren't ever going to win," said the excited skipper. They spent some time on Saturday without any luck looking for another good fish to help them win one of the Miracles aggregate awards but their big fish was the only kingfish that they saw all weekend. When all was said and done Tournament Director John Gourdin would present the Sweet Sarah IV checks totaling over $24,000 for their efforts.
Taking home the tournament's second place prize was the Ripple Effect, a Yamaha powered Freeman catamaran, skippered by Arthur Simons with Trent Caulder, Jeb Buckner, Brock Sandish and the boat's builder, Billy Freeman, on board. They were the first boat to come to the docks on Friday when the scales opened. They had just weighed their 43.24 pounder and were pulling away from the dock as the Sweet Sarah was offloading their big king.
On Friday, they started the day fishing offshore of Charlestown in 100 feet of water and didn't have long to wait as around 7:30 their big fish blew up on a mullet fished on a short flat line. "We knew it was a good fish by the way it fought," Art told me. Trent picked up the rod and after a short fight their big king was in their fish box and the Ripple Effect was headed back to towards the weigh-in dock. Simons and the Ripple Effect crew would earn some revenge weighing a 25.68 that they caught fishing in the same area on Saturday to capture the Miracle's top aggregate prize (68.92lbs), as well as taking home the tournaments Super TWT check and the TWT for the second largest fish caught during the this year's Fishing for Miracles event.
The No Patience weighed a 28.20 (along with a 51lb wahoo) on the first day of the tournament, putting them high up on Friday's leaderboard. On board their Yamaha powered Cape Horn, were skipper Shannon Elias and his wife Leia along with Bryan and Courtney Taylor. The 38.11 pound kingfish that they weighed on Saturday, the largest fish weighed on the second day of the tournament, would earn them the tournaments third place award as well as the event's second place aggregate prize (66.31lbs). Their big fish would also earn Courtney the tournament's Top Lady Angler award.
Shannon told me that they were fishing in 140' of water straight out of the Charlestown inlet over a big patch of live bottom where they had caught fish for the past three or four weeks. He told me that Courtney was bringing in a double pogy rig that had been out on one of their downriggers when their big king grabbed the baits. After a short fight they had the fish in the boat and started back to the scales. Shannon and Bryan normally fish with Robert Olsen and his son on the Knot@Work but have traditionally fished the Miracles event with their lovely wives. They both would like to thank Robert for all his help and knowledge shared over the past several years.
The fourth largest fish caught during the tournament was the 37.56 pounder weighed on Friday by Marc Pincus, Shawn Brantley and Pat Kraft on the Reelin', Marc's Yamaha powered Marlin sponsored by Cannon Downriggers and OutrigggersFishingGear.com. Marc told me that he fished both days in Pointe Royal Sound, between Beaufort and Hilton Head fishing around some schools of really large menhaden in 50 to 60 feet of water. Their fish ate a pogy fished in the Marlin's propwash. "The fish hit the bait at full throttle and greyhounded away for several hundred feet while we stood there with our mouths open," Pincus told me. "Thankfully, Zack picked up the rod and soon had the fish to the boat for me to gaff."
Finishing in fifth place for the 35.18 that they caught on Saturday was the Low Country Native Mercury powered Onslow Bay, sponsored by Summit Industrial Flooring and Onslow Bay Boats and skippered by Keith Powell from Morain, Ohio. Fishing with Keith were his brother Billy, his son Buck, Jason Hogg, and Scott Flanders. They fished both days in the Charlestown shipping channel where Jason had seen several big kings caught over the past several years at the Miracles tournament. They were fishing in 45 feet of water and Keith was bringing in a double pogy rig to change both baits when their big fish ate the menhaden as he was getting to lift them over the transom. The fish made several long runs and after a 20-minute fight, Keith had it close enough to the boat for Scott to stretch out and gaff their big king.
The sixth place check would go to a non-member boat that weighed a 34.33.
Dennis and Christie Hensley, fishing on their 23' Yamaha powered Sailfish, the Sea-Scaper, sponsored by Hensley's landscaping business, the Greenery, would finish in seventh place with a 33.80 that they weighed on Friday. They fished both days in an area south of Charlestown over a patch of live bottom in 55 feet of water where they had previously caught several nice kingfish. Dennis told me that he was untangling some lines that had crossed and Christie picked up one of the rods to help when their big fish ate a blue runner on the rod she was holding. Their fish would also earn them second place in the 23' and TWT.
Eighth place for the 31.72 pound fish that they caught on Friday, would go to the Yates-Sea, Dave Yate's Yamaha powered Contender, with Frank Hill, Lou Tocci and senior angler David L. Yates on board. Dave told me that they fished both days over a patch of live bottom in 140 feet of water 40 miles due east of Charleston where they had caught close to a hundred fish over the past three or four weekends and several good fish over the past few months. They would weigh a 26.15 on Saturday for a 57.87 two fish total that would earn them the tournament's third place aggregate check.
Ninth place would go to a non-member team for their 30.96 pounder but finishing in tenth place was last year's Miracle winner Bryan Baxter and his crew on the Team Sperry / Net Profit Suzuki powered Onslow Bay boat. Fishing with Brian were Tom Hutto, Trey Groves and Matt DeAntonio. The Net Profit started the day fishing an area in 80 feet of water offshore of Charlestown where they had caught several decent fish over the past month or so. They caught their 30.39 king on Friday around 9am after it ate a big ribbonfish towed 50 feet down. Trey did a great job of fighting the fish to the boat for Brian to gaff.
Brian told me his "The one that got away story" about the "REALLY REALLY BIG" king that swam around his boat for over twenty minutes on Saturday. After spending some time lounging in the boats wake, he told me that the fish finally ate a couple baits and missed the hooks both times, she then ate some menhaden that they pitched overboard to keep her around – then waited for them to fight a fish to the boat and then proceeded to eat half of the 20 pound king as they were getting ready to release it. After a nice lunch provided by Groutcho's Deli (Baxter's restaurant in downtown Charlestown) the fish swam off with smile on its face and a belly full of Baxter's sushi.
Tournament directors John Gourdin and Brian Vaxmonsky had some tough shoes to fill after Rob Donlin and Alan Nagel retired after last year's tournament. John and Brian never missed a beat and along with their Fishing for Miracles volunteers put together another fun, exciting and successful event with a great payout. A special thanks go to Amy Gordon from the MUSC Childrens Hospital, Scott Whitaker and Tracie Blackwell from the CCA, Ripley Yacht Club Dockmaster Cory Smith and John, Ronnie and Collin for putting up with me on the docks. For the past several years this dedicated and hard working team has raised over $300,000 of much needed funds for both the Medical University of South Carolina Children's Hospital and the South Carolina Chapter of the CCA.
Many thanks go to Hutch Holseberg, Tom Marlowe and their crew at Key West Boats for their support of South Carolina's largest fishing tournament.
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