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Division: 5 Fernandina Beach, Florida 33rd ANNUAL NSFA FISHING RODEO & KINGFISH TOURNAMENT August 1-2, 2014

Reel Quick Takes First Place in Fernandina!

By Christine Rodenbaugh

Fernandina Beach, Florida — Reel Quick did it again! Jerry and Jeremy Carter, Jill Elder, and Jim Thomas teamed up on the Yamaha powered Contender and won another Division 5 tournament. Rough seas prevented the team from going to their usual spot, so they followed the trough instead of heading right into it and ended up in a different place. They fished there for a while but headed farther offshore when the seas laid down around 10:00am. They were in about 125 feet of water with a variety of Lee’s Live Baits—blue runners, goggle eyes, and ribbonfish. It was a nice day and with the seas calming down the team stayed there until about 2:30. 

Snapper was only open for eight days in Atlantic Federal Waters this year and the Fernandina dates were not included. Anglers who fished the Ancient City and Greater Jax reported catching snapper that came up from the bottom to 60’ feet or so in 120’ of water. “We caught a snapper on a ribbonfish on top of the water,” reported Jerry. “That’s the first time we ever had one come all the way to the surface.” Of course, they released the audacious fish. 

Reel Quick moved again and got a hit on the downrigger set to 65’. Jerry grabbed the rod while Jill drove the boat keeping the king at the bow and away from the motors while Jeremy readied the gaff. “We use a 10- to 12-foot gaff and with those long arms Jeremy can stick one way out there,” Jerry quipped. They thought it might go 33 or so pounds but wouldn’t be enough to win, so they fished until the last minute heading in about 4:15. “We were really surprised to win with a 35.28!” Jerry said. It just goes to show that you need to come in and weigh regardless. Congratulations on another win and we’ll see you in Biloxi!

Papa Son didn’t join the SKA this year, but they took second place.

Lee, Heather, and Jordyn Way plus Cyle Johnston have had a great Division 5 season making the board in all three events in their Mercury powered Sea Vee named Second Chance/Team Mercury. Lee is back into competitive fishing at the insistence of Heather. “I haven’t been tournament fishing lately because I work so much. When I fish, I want to fish for fun,” Lee remarked. But the family team wanted to participate in the Ancient City event because of the Jared Revels benefit. Then Lewis Rogers talked Lee into fishing the Greater Jax.

Second Chance went to the same spot they have been fishing all season and put out some blue runners, one of which was particularly large. That’s the one that got hit and, with Heather at the helm, Lee grabbed the rod. “It ate a giant bait and I thought it would be a bigger than it was,” Jerry explained. “We had a few in the mid to high 20s, but it was a pretty slow day for us,” he concluded. The 33.32 was good enough for a third place finish. 

Will we see Second Chance at the Nationals? “If Jordyn has all As and Bs including four 10th grade honors classes,” Lee replied. Heather and Jordyn say that will definitely happen. When asked about the NSFA format of only being eligible to win one prize per boat, Lee remarked, “I think it’s good for the sport. You want as many different people to win money so that more people are encouraged to fish tournaments. When that junior weighed his 20-pounder and collected his check, he was so happy. It makes his daddy want to come back and fish the next year.” Here, here!

Play N Hooky pointed the bow of their Yamaha powered Yellowfin toward the Brunswick Bottom after a late start because bait was delayed that morning and the team had to dodge storms working their way offshore. 2013 was the rookie year for Captain Nick, 15-year-old Ashton, and 12-year-old Blake Cantrell. Welcome back to the trail! The day started off pretty nasty but the wind and seas laid down about 1:00 and it was nearly glass for the ride in. The team had caught some smaller kings so when a fish hit the blue runner set at 20’ on the downrigger, they knew it was a bigger one. It was Blake’s turn on the rod, so Ashton cleared the lines and got the gaff ready. “Blake and Ashton have really matured as a fishing team and I really enjoy competing with them,” declared their proud father. Play N Hooky claimed seventh place with a 21.76.

The Good Life team of Dennis, Shelby, Colby, and Richard Hollingsworth with Kris and Ryan Leary rounded out the top ten fishing about 40 miles east of the Elton Bottom. “We checked the ROFFs report and it looked like clean water at the right temperature, so we decided to go down there and fish all day,” Shelby reported. The team hooked up to a 70-pound sailfish early in the day, but kings were elusive. Good Life was also a rookie team in 2013 and compete in a Yamaha powered Contender. They were in about 140’ of water just after noon when a king struck a blue runner on top set midway back. Ryan grabbed the rod and made short work of getting the fish close enough for Shelby to set the gaff. Good Life is looking forward to going to Biloxi for Nationals this year.

First place in Small Boat Class went to Kevin Faulk and Chris Strom on Downtime, a 23’ Panga powered by Suzuki. The duo has been fishing together for the past two years, getting better as a team, and they’re looking forward to Nationals. Kevin and Chris deployed pogies, blues, and ribbons about six miles offshore, but the kings just weren’t on the beach. The team caught a half dozen kings in the 19- to 25-pound range. “We didn’t gaff any fish; we tailed them and we released the ones we didn’t keep,” Kevin told me. They stayed around a hole that bottomed out at 77 feet because there were plenty of baitfish there and they didn’t want to waste time travelling. The 25.18 hit a ribbonfish about 25’ down and each team member did what it took to get the king in the boat. “The 25-pounder put us in some money and we’re real happy about that,” Kevin commented. 

The format was a bit different than other SKA events. A boat could only be placed in one of these four categories: multiple engine, single engine, lady angler, or junior angler. Each boat could win one prize and the tournament placed the boat where it would win the largest prize. If you put this event on your calendar for next year, be sure to let the NSFA club know whether or not you like this payout structure. It’s a great venue for a kingfish tournament and the variety of species, good food, and silent auction draws spectators for the weigh-in.


Open Class

35.281. REEL QUICK
Contender / Yamaha
Jerry Carter
Jeremy Carter
Jill Elder
Jim Thomas
34.822. Papa-Son
Sea Vee / Mercury
Lee Way
Heather Way
Jordyn Way
Cyle Johnston
27.624. Gameday
25.205. Taylor Made
22.886. Foreplay
21.167. Turn 3
Contender / Mercury
Jeffery Dunbar
Nancy Dunbar
Sea Hunt / Yamaha
Mike Senior
Melissa Senior
20.9210. GOOD LIFE
Contender / Yamaha
Dennis Hollingsworth
Kris Leary
Shelby Hollingsworth
Colby Hollingsworth
Richard Hollingsworth
Ryan Leary

Small Boat Class

25.181. DOWNTIME
Panga / Suzuki
Kevin Faulk
Chris Strom

Top Lady Anglers
21.381. Teresa Owens
About Time

Top Junior Angler
21.76Ashton and Blake Cantrell

SKA Top Junior Anglers
33.321. Jordyn Way
21.762. Ashton and Blake Cantrell

Mercury Marine Junior Angler Scholarship Winner
Jordyn Way

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