Jimmy Dupree fishing with Jim, Daniel, and Betsy Dupree on his OBX Girl/Team Calcutta Yamaha powered Contender sponsored by Calcutta, Precision Auto Reels, and Roberson & Dupree Shoe Store on Main Street in Tarboro, NC, weighed a super 52.72 pound kingfish on Sunday to take home the top award at the 3rd Annual North Carolina Troopers Association Offshore Challenge held at the Jaycee Park in downtown Morehead City. Jimmy told me that they travelled to Hatteras Saturday morning and spent the day loading up on bait and pre-fishing some numbers just south of Hatteras Inlet where they found a few decent kingfish.
As time has shown, persistence pays off and this has been proven again at this year’s National Championship. Jacksonville Beach, Florida’s Ron Roberson and Sean McCarter fishing on Oceanview, Ron’s 23’ Mercury powered Fountain, have qualified in Division 5 and fished our National Championship for the past several years. They have caught a lot of fish at the Nationals but nothing that they carried up the steps to the Championship’s scales. This year was a different story as their 99.86 pound two fish aggregate earned them the 2013 Small Boat Championship title and the Mercury outboard powered Onslow Bay boat riding on a Loadmaster trailer awarded to the Small Boat Champions.
Pennywise, Jack Penny’s Yamaha powered Contender, sponsored by Central Marine, EZ Ryder Bean Bags, Profinder, Yamaha and Contender and skippered by Mike Penny who fished the event with Jerry Solovskoy, Kevin Farner, Jeff Silverthorne along with Mark and Taylor Nifong, would weigh a 38.10 pound kingfish to take home the 22nd Annual Suncoast Kingfish Classic’s $10,000 top prize held at the world-famous Gator’s Café & Saloon.
“We caught bluefish and menhaden on Thursday, then made rigs and checked all the drags,” James Demyan, captain of the Final Approach team, began his story on winning the 180 boat Fall Brawl. “We left the South Harbor Marina dock at 6:00am Saturday and had lines in at 7:00am sharp on the east side of the Cape Fear shoals in 50 feet of water. We knew there had been a lot of winning fish caught in this area in the past and we hoped for the best. At 8:50am, the bluefish, with a Blue Water Candy skirt, was deployed and five minutes later the long line began peeling off. I watched the reel lose half of its spool and then I moved the lever drag to the pre-set fighting position.
Because of an unforeseen schedule change and the need to add a fifth event to finish the year in Division 3, we were able to combine the last event of the division with the Division 9, Little River Sportfishing Club Rumble in the Jungle. Mother Nature decided to make things even more interesting with a forecast for northeast winds up to 25 knots on Saturday. Reports looked better at the end of the weekend so the tournament committee made the decision to go ahead and fish on Sunday. Because of the joint tournament, Don Ewing and Jimmy Sasser of Jimmy’s Marine in Ocean Isle Beach, NC came up with the idea of a North Carolina – South Carolina Shootout award sponsored by Jimmy’s Marine that would be go to the top finishing SKA team.
Joe Winslow went out of Ocean Isle, North Carolina and spent the morning stalking king mackerel. He caught one and then fired up the big block Yamahas and headed to the scales in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina. “We had run about 280 miles by the time we landed at the tournament site’s dock,” he added. Joe is an SKA member but didn’t come down to register because of the time factor. I still wanted everyone to know he is a loyal SKA member.
During registration at this year’s Fort Pierce Summer Slam, Billy Wummer, the skipper of the Spiced Rum III kept bumping into me and moaning this and that about needing a king bigger than 51 pounds to win Division 8 and beat their buddies on the Penny-Less who was in the lead coming into the last event of the division. He couldn’t stop rambling on about how he was tired of finishing second to the 2012 National Champions. My answer to him was “Quit complaining and go catch a 52!”
Mother Nature did her best to make everyone fishing for the $20,000 guaranteed first place prize at this year’s Blue Water Promotion’s Atlantic Beach Saltwater Classic miserable. On top of the strong winds and rough seas, kingfish that had been plentiful all along the east side of the Cape for the past several weeks suddenly got lock jaw and were few and far between. D. and David Logan, fishing on their Yamaha powered Yellowfin, the Logan’s Run would weigh a 41.87 on day two of the event to take home the Classic’s top prize.
Southport, North Carolina – Brent Gainey fishing with his dad, Randy Gainey, along with Ryan Wiggins and Jason McDowell on Miller Time, Brent’s Yamaha powered Cape Horn boat, weighed a super 47.78 pound kingfish to lead the 113 boat field and take home the guaranteed $15,000 top prize at this year’s Blue Water Promotions, Brunswick Islands Saltwater Classic held at the South Harbor Village Marina.
Jimmy Garza is one of those people who can do it all on a boat and in a lot of events he fishes alone. This week he went south to fish the Milliken’s Reef Mac Attack and headed back to Jacksonville with $12,000 and a first place trophy after the event ended. “On day one I ran to the Steeple and came to the scale with four fish, the biggest a 29,” Jimmy told me. “You know you’ve got your work cut out for you in an aggregate event when the biggest fish on day one has you by nearly 17 pounds.”
Fred Watkins, Jr. and his Yamaha powered 27’ Contender team of Ken Jansen, William Todd Gardner, Sherman Butch Smith, and Kayla Williamson worked together to catch and scale a great 60.23 at 8:30 Saturday morning. “After we checked out at 6:00, we ran 40 miles to a rig in 135 feet of water,” explained Jansen who actually caught the biggest king in Division 7 this season.
The crowds started to swell around four o’clock at the Metropolitan Park’s Marina in anticipation of their Rodeo ticket being drawn out of the drum for weighing one or more of the 18 species in the 4th Annual GATE Jacksonville Fishing Rodeo. The Evans Brothers Band finished their last set at 4:30 and as the stage was changed for the anticipated awards ceremony, right at the scheduled five o’clock hour it began. With 1017 anglers purchasing tickets to participate in the annual event, they were there with high hopes of winning one of four great random drawing prizes plus species and Jackpot winners getting some cash.
“We fished the Summerlin Reef till we ran out of bait,” explained Johnny Hudson who fished with Jot Owens on the Yamaha powered Onslow Bay named Justin Time. “It was rough, estimating four- to six-foot seas, certainly not what was predicted by NOAA. We had been catching Spanish and sharks all morning but about noon our mid-30s hit a long line. It was the only bait out as we were clearing lines.” The duo stayed out till about 4:30 when they were forced to move in to the shipping channel to pick up some fresh bait, but it was that noontime mid-30s that earned them second place and its $4,700 second place money.
The story on the Palace Hotel & Casino / Gorenflo’s KMT really didn’t center on who caught what but the weather. Thank goodness it was just a one-day event because it was miserable. Only good fish saved the day. First, let’s talk about the weather. Seas were probably four to six feet and the rain was torrential. You just couldn’t get away from it. A low-pressure cell sat over the Upper Gulf for literally three days and it was sub-tropical. When you checked the radar you could easily see the circulation. Thankfully it never developed into a tropical storm.
If it’s your first ever tournament win, you may as well win the “BIG ONE” and that’s what happened in Charleston at this year’s Fishing for Miracles event. Chris Rosengarten and his crew have had several second and third place and lots of top ten finishes over the past several years including a fourth place finish at the Sullivan’s Island Saltwater Classic at the beginning of August. At this year’s Miracles event, they carried a 39.76 pound kingfish up the ramp to the scales on Friday to take home this great tournament’s first place award. Fishing with Chris on his Honda powered Everglades were Rob and Ja Malphrus and Bill Rosengarten, who regularly flies in from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico to fish tournaments with his brother.
110 excellent fishing teams headed offshore in search of a monster kingfish at this year’s 22nd Annual Sneads Ferry Rotary Club’s King Mackerel Tournament. When all was said and done, the crew on David Mason’s Blue Water Candy, skippered by past National Champion, Jodie Gay, carried a 52.60 pounder to the New River Marina Scales to lead from start to finish and take home the tournament’s top prize.
The Crawfish crew spent the day fishing 20 miles south of Mayport in 100 feet of water where they had caught some decent fish earlier in the year, including the 42-pounder they weighed in at the Ancient City tournament. Around 7:00 they hooked up to a real good fish that they fought for 20 minutes and had it circling just out of reach under the boat when it bit through the wire and was gone. He said that after the loss they all were really depressed and that the “fishing sucked!” They sat there and moped for another four or five hours, caught one small king and were talking about moving when something ate one of the ribbonfish they had out on their downriggers. The fish popped the line out of the downrigger clip and took off.
“Bait was very hard to catch,” Trae started his explanation. “They just wouldn’t come up. It took a lot of time and when we couldn’t waste any more time with them we had a total of just 28 baits.” Then he told me that their sonar went out so after a 64-mile run he pulled the throttles back in an area he’s fished many times. “Jack, this was an area in 78 feet of water where we won a tournament in 2012,” he continued. “T.J. hooked up and caught our fish while drifting through a big chum slick we had working. She hit the bait attached to a rod in the T-top and she literally smoked the reel. T.J. did a great job and all our early fears we had dispelled quickly. We had a good fish.”
When the scales settled down, the fish weighed 53.37 pounds, a good first-day fish but as everyone knows, the Gulf offshore of Venice is home to some huge kings. Just a couple weeks before, Get Layed had weighed the heaviest king at the end of day one at the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo but got edged out by Kwazar to finish second in Dauphin Isle. Fishing with Fred on his 27’ Yamaha powered Contender sponsored by Subway were Ken Jansen, Todd Gardner, Butch Smith and their good luck charm, Kayla Williamson. Fred told me that they started fishing early Saturday morning near the 130 rig in the South Timbalier Block where they had pre-fished and caught a few good fish.
Something was definitely wrong. The wind wasn’t blowing and no thunderstorms were in sight–not the normal weather that has plagued the Captain Hap’s Bash on the Bluff over the past several years. Fishermen were blessed with sunny skies and calm seas as they made their way offshore in search of a big king to take home the tournament’s top prize. A couple of Contender boats were waiting at the Skipper’s Fish Camp dock for the scales to open at 3:00. The first boat to weigh was Team Footloose, Steven, John and Julie Trussell’s Yamaha powered Contender. Their fish weighed 39.63 pounds and topped the Bash on the Bluff’s leaderboard for just a few minutes, until the second Contender, a team that does not belong to SKA, weighed a 42.75 and dropped Team Footloose to a well-earned but disappointing second-place finish in Darien.
This year’s 29th annual event saw John Lewis and Chad Barnes share in the traditional honors for earning the top slot with a great 44.48. I’m sure they were real happy to divvy up the over $14,000 in prize money but they are both top anglers so I’m sure the first place honors really means something. “We started at the tanker,” said the Morehead City native who owns the Yamaha powered Contender named Second Chanze. “We arrived at 6:15, watched her eat our top lined shad at 6:25 trolled 50 feet back, and brought her in the boat at 6:45,” ...
Everyone cheered when the weighmaster shouted out 41.90 pounds and Dean and his crew started another long wait with crossed fingers as 41 other teams carried their catch to scales. Finally, the last fish was weighed and the $10,000 first place check was theirs. Dean told me that they started the day fishing near Gray’s reef in 60’ of water where they had caught three nice fish pre-fishing on Friday and where he had caught a 42-pounder two weeks before to win a local tournament. They caught a 20-pound fish to start the day and around 10:30 their 41-pounder ate a blue runner 40’ down on a downrigger. That’s when the fun began. From the moment that Christy picked up the rod, they knew that it was a decent fish.
The Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo, by far the largest fishing tournament in the world according to the Guinness World Records, celebrated its 80th anniversary edition in 2013 with more than 3,000 fishermen competing to land a big fish in any one of the 30 eligible species. Another statistic for the tournament record books includes more than 700 entries in the speckled trout jackpot. The trout and jack crevalles sure took a beating over the three-day event.
Maybe the change in format for the 33rd Annual Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament was the key to Clayton Kirby claiming his fifth title in the event. In the past, the Greater Jax event required two days of fishing for all teams and the winner was based on the two-fish aggregate. This year, the top ten teams from Friday’s General Tournament plus the winner of the Redneck VIP held earlier in the week competed against each other on Saturday in the Shootout.
Fishing on their Yamaha powered Yellowfin sponsored by the OIFC, Yamaha Outboards, Yellowfin Boats, Ameritrail Trailers and Bright Star Home Care were two time past SKA National Champions Captains Brant and Barrett McMullan along with Brant’s lovely wife Amy and junior anglers Brayden and Caroline McMullan. Brant told me that they decided to fish on Saturday and started the day fishing an area in 80 to 85 feet of water just south of Ocean Isle Beach, where some decent fish had been caught earlier in the week.
Thanks to Bill Wummer and Jamie Bunn and their volunteers, the Big Dog & Fat Cat SKA Division 10 event this year increased from 95 some boats last year to 150 boats this year making it one of the top events in all of Florida. Obviously they put in a lot of time and effort to make it happen and first and foremost deserve a tremendous amount of praise from the SKA, it’s members, and especially the participants! The Tito’s Handmade Vodka team/ Late Start deserves a lot of credit also for winning the event fishing against tremendous talent.
Early in the week, Tournament Director Matt Morse considered postponing the event due to threats of bad weather along the projected path of Tropical Storm Chantal. The storm broke up after skirting the southern coasts of Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Wednesday and cleared the way for the show to go on. A 45-minute downpour prior to the opening of registration at 3:00 on Friday was the worst weather all weekend. Saturday was described as calm and Sunday’s reports from competitors ranged from “bumpy” to...
After two straight second place finishes at the Two Way and Jacksonville Saltwater Classic events, Double J, Jerry Gregory’s Yamaha powered Contender, caught the tournament-winning fish and took home the $10,000 guaranteed first place check at the Beaufort Water Festival’s Family Fishing Tournament held at the Port Royal Yacht Club. Jerry was unable to fish and because the weather had been so nasty the past few weekends, co-captain Rusty Rogers teamed up with Derek Meadows and Scott Reynolds who normally fish on their 23’ Contender named Cash Money.
Jacksonville, Florida – After their win the prior week at the Two Way tournament and the postponement of the Beaufort Water Festival event that they had made plans to fish, Robert Beck and his crew made the decision to haul the Nauti-Gale, south from Savannah to try and take home the guaranteed $10,000 top prize that was up for grabs at this year’s edition of the Bluewater Promotion’s, Jacksonville Saltwater Classic. Fishing with Robert were Robbie and Charles Beck along with Ben Craft.
Fort Pierce, Florida - It was one of those hot days when you knew if you were going to be scale bound you had to have a good game plan. Some did, some didn’t, but Reid Macy and his team of Scott Bell and James Blair used a page out of their bottom fishing manual. “We went to the Northeast Grounds where we’ve caught big fish before while bottom fishing,” he started. “We saw a lot of fish and boated two dolphin, two cobia, eight snappers, and three kings, but it was our 35.63 king that Scott Bell caught using a blue runner that got us the $5,000 top prize.”
Brunswick, Georgia – Robert, Robbie and Charles Beck fishing with Ben Craft on their Yamaha powered Contender, the Nauti Gale, would carry their 40.74 pound king up the ramp to the scales and take home the top prize at the 27th edition of the Two Way Sportfishing Club’s Kingfish Tournament, held at Rick Smith’s Two Way Fish Camp & Marina. Saturday morning’s calm seas and perfect fishing conditions were a welcome surprise as most had anticipated the rough conditions that they faced the prior week during the Golden Isles event.
Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina – Since 1994 Captain Brant and the McMullan family have produced some of the finest tournaments that we travel to. This year’s Yellowfin/Yamaha Jolly Mon King Classic held at the McMullans’ Ocean Isle Fishing Center certainly lived up to this tradition. The Jolly Mon is an either/or event meaning that teams may choose to fish either Saturday or Sunday. Of the 203 teams who entered the Classic, the majority picked day one, Saturday, while 65 teams opted to fish on Sunday.
St. Simons Island, Georgia – Joe Gill and Lance Royal fishing on their Mercury powered Onslow Bay weighed a 43.44 pound kingfish to take home the $10,000 top prize at this year’s edition of the Golden Isles Kingfish Classic held at the beautiful Gascoigne Bluff Park on St. Simons Island. Joe and Lance left from Shellman’s Bluff and started the day loading several nice pogies and blue runners into the Moe Money’s livewell before heading offshore looking for a monster kingfish.
Fourchon, Louisiana—It wasn’t what the fisherman wanted, a faulty weather forecast to start the 2013 Division 7 competition. Instead of two- to three-foot seas, the winds blew causing four- to six-footers on day one. Despite the sore bodies we still witnessed the Kwazar’s team weighed Division 7’s first fifty of the season and Reelentless scale a 86.37 pound wahoo. The Kajun Sportsman team scaled the biggest red snapper, a 20.07. On day two the weather gods shined on the teams offering them two- to four-foot seas and sunny skies ...
POMPANO BEACH, FL— 105 boats cruised past the lighthouse as they cleared Hillsboro Inlet and headed up and down the coast in their quest to take home their share of the $200,000 that was up for grabs at the 18th Annual Mercury/SeaVee Pompano Beach Saltwater Slam, the second leg of this year’s Bluewater Movements Pompano Beach Saltwater Circuit. Just like last month’s Saltwater Shootout, the Slam’s format allows each team competing in the tournament to weigh as many as ten fish, but no more than four of each eligible species.
While most teams in the Coastal Empire Kingfish Classic ran deep or south, Jimmy Roberts got some good information and ran north to the T-Reef off of Hilton Head. “When we got there, a lot of locals were anchored up trying to utilize the great Cobia run,” he explained. “We were the only kingfish boat.” The To Da Hub team, consisting of Alan Daniels, Michael McGaughey, Pete Buhles, and Jimmy’s son John, fishing a Yamaha powered Regulator, had blue runners they purchased from Eric’s Baits.
The top six boats in the Frances Langford Memorial Fishing Tournament, promoted by the Jensen Beach Chamber of Commerce, came to the scale with fish exceeding 40 pounds. It really wasn’t rocket science. The big fish in Division 10’s Mercury/SeaVee Pompano Beach Saltwater Shootout came from the same area the week before. Even though the big fish were still there off Jupiter, you still had to catch them. The Knot Scared team came away with top honors with a great 49.62.
Fort Myers, Florida—The Rock Pile still produces big kings even in May. Many believe there is a resident population there all year long. I may agree! The top four boats plus the top Class team obviously believed that because they made the 120-mile run from Ft. Myers to the Rock Pile which is in 110 to 120 feet of water. The Penny Wise ran there and they weren’t disappointed. “Johnny, we released 31 fish from 6:30 til 9:30 most in the low to high 30s,” said Captain Mike Penny. “Then our 48.30 hit a blue runner in the prop wash.
An impressive 137 teams checked out of Hillsborough Inlet Saturday morning with every one of them looking forward to taking home a big chunk of the over $200,000 in cash and prizes that were up for grabs at this year’s 15th Anniversary Edition of the Mercury/SeaVee Pompano Beach Saltwater Shootout. Many had complained at the captain’s meeting that fishing had been really slow during the preceding week, but when all was said and done, a record number of fish were carried to the scales.
The Woithe family chalked up another win, this time winning the N.B.O.A. Gulf Coast Open. The three-generation family of Robert A., Susan, Robert D., Bruce, and the top junior of the event Luke, scaled a 42.36. They fish a Yamaha powered Yellowfin. Teams had a great day on the water on Friday for the Big Pig Shootout but listening to the NOAA forecast for the general event on Saturday, things didn’t look too good. The forecast said seas would be relatively calm in the early morning...
The Houston, Texas team of Jose Reyes, Bill Platt, Ernie Pyle Jr., Gill Strelec, Jr., and Ozzie Fischer fished 100 miles southwest of Sarasota and at ten o’clock pulled a 49.76 over the gunwale. “We were fishing a spot in 160 feet of water trolling runners, but were being harassed by a hungry shark, so being from Texas, we dropped lines off the back with Russell Lures which are made in our great state,” said Platt. “I know live bait is how all of us fish but we wanted to fish the area and we thought we’d try this because the shark just wouldn't leave us alone.
Arik Bergerman, Eric Sidor, Glenn Carr, Jeff Houser, and the 1995 National Champion Randy Keys, teamed up to scale a 40.59 at Gator’s on the Pass and win the 22nd Annual Suncoast Kingfish Classic event! The SKA was founded in ’91 and held their National Championship in Treasure Island in ’92, which was won by Jim Davis and his team from North Carolina. It has become symbolic every time we come to town. Most don’t really understand the relationship we have in this part of the world.
There are a lot of kings in the ocean, but when you scale a sixty plus pound king it’s like finding the Holy Grail. In the twenty-three years of tournament fishing in the SKA only a select few have accomplished this great fete. It happened to Rich Sujat, Lorenzo Guariniello, Rich Ebersold, and Steve Ocampo on the second day of the 8th Annual Greater Palm Beach Offshore 440. It was a 60.96! “We only scaled a 19.86 on day one and we desperately needed a good fish,” said Sujat. “There was already a nice 53 on the board from day one.”
Key West, Florida—Steve Squires and Lynwood Riggs from Kinston, North Carolina, combined to win the 17th Annual Key West Harbour King Mackerel Tournament in Key West, Florida the third weekend in January. They scaled a 56.44 on day two to win the event and collect the 18-foot Evinrude powered Wellcraft boat complete with a Continental trailer, which was the first place prize. “We’ve caught a 50 in Biloxi, but this one earned us first place honors,” said a very happy Steve Squires.
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