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Division: 4 Darien, Georgia CAPT. HAP’S KINGFISH BASH AND RODEO August 15-16, 2014

Capt. HAP’s Win Goes to Hot Spot/NOS Energy

By Sam White

Darien, Georgia — Georgia sportsmen all tend to be a very passionate bunch, whether it’s deer season, collegiate football or king mackerel tournaments. So, when the previous owners of the SKA called Howard Poe and asked if he would be willing to put together a tournament to fill an open spot in the Division 4 lineup, a few years ago, he naturally took the challenge to heart and Capt. HAPs Kingfish Bash on the Bluff was born. Now in its seventh consecutive season, the event features some of the best sportsmanship and camaraderie to be found in coastal Georgia and for good reason: Poe is a veteran of the kingfish tournament scene, having won the SKA National Championship back in 1996 and fished in scores of tournaments since then. In addition to the divisional competition, the event also serves as a fundraiser for a scholarship fund for Macintosh County high school students; this year, Hospice will also receive a donation on behalf of the tournament.

For the second year, Skipper’s Fish Camp on the water in Darien, Georgia served as the tournament’s host location. With good weather forecasted and a strong bite going down both off Georgia and in north Florida, it was sure to be a good one indeed. 

Dave Massey and the Hot Spot/NOS Energy team knew there would be some big kings on the beach in their usual haunts off St. Augustine and Jacksonville so they powered their way out of the inlet at Fernandina and headed their Yamaha-powered Fountain south into the head seas. “We got down to St. Augustine and right away we were 14 for 14 on sharks,” Massey said with a laugh. “We moved back up to the Red Tops and Joe [Bowles] called us on the radio and said they had a good fish from there. We missed two good bites—one on the kite and one on the downrigger—and then we decided to call the Jacksonville Pier on the phone. They said there had been some fish caught there the day before so off we went again.” The team of Massey, Cameron Mattingly, Ben Carter, Tiger Roraback, and junior angler Doc Massey III put the baits out by the pier just as the tide changed and soon had a bite on a double pogy rig in the propwash. “It was a picture perfect bite,” Massey reported. “The fish made three long runs and rolled up right at the boat.” Cameron Mattingly fought the fish from strike to gaff and Massey was finally able to sink the gaff a few minutes before 2pm before they started the long run back up the coast. At the scales, the big king weighed 45.37 pounds. “We’re all working guys with young kids,” Massey said. “We do this for the friendships you make along the way. We’re 100 percent behind the SKA and look forward to this year’s Championships and beyond.” Ten-year-old Doc Massey III was the event’s Top Junior Angler as well. 

In second place was Joe Bowles’ Joe Daddy team, fishing in a Mercury-powered 23-foot Intrepid. Bowles won the HAPs event last year but since he was not a member of the SKA they did not receive any recognition in the magazine. Determined not to repeat that error, Bowles and teammate Brooks McDonald both joined the organization, a strategy that paid off with a second place fish in this year’s tournament. “We were originally heading for the Gate Station off St. Augustine but the weather forecast was a little off,” Bowles said. “Instead of one to two it was two to four and right on the nose so we pulled up short and started fishing—the major bite period was going to be early so we’ve learned that it’s best to have the baits in the water.” They pulled into the Red Tops area in about 40 feet of water and fired out a spread; the third bait in the water got crushed right away in a smashing strike. “We bought bait so we had blue runners and goggle-eyes in the well,” he reported. “Not having to stop and look for pogies meant that we could fish while the bite was going on and I think that really helped. After we put that fish in the boat we had two more, a 27 and a 26, a little while later.” Bowles says he’s switched to the Fin Nor Marquesa reels this year, which hold about 750 yards of line. “With only three of us on the team, we leave the rod in the holder and clear the other lines first so having that extra capacity helps sometimes—this fish made the longest run I’ve ever seen. We had only about 150 yards left on the reel by the time we could start chasing after it.” After several other runs, Brent Miller was finally able to seal the deal with the gaff and the team knew they would be headed for the scales in Darien later that day. 

Rounding out the top three was the Maroney family, fishing on their Mercury-powered Contender, Home Run. Ron and Kathi fished the tournament with their sons Bradley and Mason. According to Bradley, the team had a great day of fishing. “We were planning on going to the 21 Bottom but stopped off Fernandina in about 90 feet of water southwest of the Elton Bottom,” he said. Shortly after 11 o’clock they had their biggest bite of the day which ended up being a 34.29-pound kingfish. The nice king ate a goggle-eye from Lee’s Live Bait and after a short fight Mason was able to angle the fish alongside for a gaff shot. Bradley also reported good fishing for other species including dolphin and cobia. Kathi Maroney was the tournament’s Top Lady Angler. 

Finishing fourth was the Just Fishin, a Suzuki-powered McKee Craft with Lee Southard and Robert Udinsky aboard. The duo teamed up to bag a 30.83-pound kingfish. Making the top five was the Late Fees, another Yamaha-powered Contender with David Butler Jr. and David Butler III aboard; they decked a 30.54-pounder for fifth place. 

Since Joe Daddy placed higher in the standings, A Salt Weapon was the tournament’s Top Small Boat. David Futch, Jay Swindell, Blake McMillan and Michael Godbee scaled a 22.43-pounder in their Yamaha-powered Contender for the win. The Moe Money was second with a 21.51-pound kingfish for Onslow Bay and Mercury while the Double Trouble landed in third with a 16.18-pounder. 

The tournament staff would like to thank Mike Murphy Ford for their sponsorship as well as Mercury Marine and Superior External Cleaning for their much-appreciated support. The event paid back 100 percent of the entry fees based on 45 boats even though just 44 participated in the tournament. It’s just another reason to mark your calendars for this one in 2015.


Open Class

Fountain / Yamaha
Dave Massey
Cameron Mattingly
Ben Carter
Rob Herrington
Tiger Roraback
Doc Massey III
35.832. JOE DADDY
Intrepid / Mercury
Joe Bowles
Brooks McDonald
34.293. HOME RUN
Contender / Mercury
Bradley Maroney
Ron Maroney
Mason Maroney
Kathi Maroney
Mckee Craft / Suzuki
Lee Southard
Robert Udinsky
30.545. LATE FEES
Contender / Yamaha
David Butler Jr.
David Butler III
28.256. BY THE MILE
Sea Hunter / Yamaha
Steadman Taylor
Hillary Taylor
Yellowfin / Mercury
Spencer Ross
Brandon Sanborn
Johanna Mickler
27.118. Catchin Hell
26.929. NO MERCY
Contender / Yamaha
Gary Ryals
Shawn Steverson
Zach Wood
Ike Maulden
Lindsay Duffield
John Hall Jr.
Bluewater / Yamaha
Cal Lang Jr.
Miles Hendrix

Small Boat Class

Contender / Yamaha
David Futch
Jay Swindell
Blake McMillan
Michael Godbee
21.512. MOE MONEY
Onslow Bay / Mercury
Joe Gill
Jay Gill
Lance Royal
Mason Selph
Moe Gill
Contender / Yamaha
Matt Tsiklistas
Courtney Dillard
Brian Gattie
Dale Feldman

Top Lady Anglers
34.291. Kathi Maroney

Top Junior Angler
45.37Doc Massey III

SKA Top Junior Anglers
45.371. Doc Massey III
30.542. David Butler III
26.673. Turner and Anderson McCurdy

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