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Division: 5 Location St. Augustine, Florida ANCIENT CITY GAMEFISH CHALLENGE July 11-13, 2014

Reel Quick Wins the ACGFA Kingfish Challenge!

By Christine Rodenbaugh

St. Augustine, Florida—The Ancient City Game Fish Association’s format was two days of fishing; teams could weigh two fish each day and bump their weight. Jerry Carter’s Reel Quick team of Jeremy Carter, Jill Elder, Tracy Carter, and Jim Thomas weighed two fish on day one and let their aggregate ride. They went to the 21 Bottom in 130 feet of water where they had caught a tournament-winning fish two weeks earlier. Blue runners they bought from Lee’s Live Baits attracted kings to their spread. Jill and Jeremy had two fish hit the long lines way back at about 1:00, so Jeremy cleared the rods and they got the 41.35 in the boat.

At 3:30 the 48.90 hit the downrigger and made a long run nearly spooling the reel. Jill put up a good fight and got her close enough for Jerry to set the gaff. He missed. “It makes your heart pound a bit,” he said. Jerry stuck the king on the second try and immediately checked the time. Conditions were three-footers and, when he plugged the numbers into the GPS, the ETA for the scales showed 5:05pm. Their Yamaha powered Contender got them under the north side of the Vilano bridge with just four minutes to spare to make the weigh-in cutoff. They had a 90.25 two-fish aggregate and it held up throughout day two to take first place.

In addition to their winnings, the team took advantage of the open snapper season and brought two in for a celebration dinner. Jerry’s son Jeremy has been fishing since he was a small fry. “He’s a good fisherman,” remarked his father. “It’s a team effort that’s for sure.” They’re making plans to go to Nationals. “Yes, we love Biloxi. That’s really fishing over there,” Jerry concluded.

Total Chaos had the biggest king of the weekend registering 52.15 on the scales. But that was day two. On the first day, Captain Jason Solano, Morgan Nelson, John King, and Steven Barrett headed to one of their regular spots at the 21 Bottom in the Yamaha powered Yellowfin. They put out a smorgasbord of blue runners, goggle eyes, and pogies in 123 feet of water using a combination of four lines in the spread and two on the downriggers. The 30.40-pounder hit a line in the spread, Jason picked up the rod and they had points for the board with Morgan Nelson working the gaff. They also landed two dolphin on Saturday and conditions were perfect until the rough ride in.

Day two started off slow after a bumpy ride out with no fish before noon. They moved the boat twice searching for kings and the gamble paid off. The big fish didn’t bite until 2:00 with John King on the rod and Jason working the gaff. I took their picture on the weigh-in dock at 4:53pm. I could hear the crowd cheer when the weight was announced. Total Chaos thanks Garmin, Myco, Avet Reels, E-SeaRider Bean Bags, Smith Optics, and Cannon.

Total Chaos had an 82.55 aggregate for second place. When asked what the chances are we’ll see them at Nationals, Jason remarked, “100%!”

Kenny Crawford and his team of Al Morris, Matthew Farlow, Chris Cathey, and Lyle Rose put near twins on the board for a fourth place aggregate of 74.80. Kenny pointed the Contender powered by Yamaha to the southeast just like many other teams. The Crawfish team was in 100 feet of water when a 37.10 hit one of Lee’s Live Baits blue runners on the long line. Al Morris picked up the rod and brought her to gaff in short order. The 37.70 king on day two was a bit more exciting. Chris Cathey was fighting the fish when the line got around McClain’s downrigger cables. “McClain got it off for us,” said Kenny, “but we thought we had lost the fish. We knew it was a good fish and were relieved when we were able to bring her in.” That fish hit a goggle on the downrigger.

Crawfish stopped at a random spot for a break and caught two 25-pound snappers taking advantage of one of the eight open snapper days allowed in the Atlantic this year. They caught a few more kings, some amberjacks, and were pestered by barracudas. The team thanks Contender, Yamaha, Raymarine, and Lee’s Live Bait for their continued support.

Most of the time when I interview teams for these articles, the kings are either biting on top or down deep for an event. The full moon and stormy weather seemed to change up their patterns because several teams reported catching kings on the flat lines as well as on the downriggers.

Second Chance/Team Mercury fished right off St. Augustine and pulled up a 35.80 and a 37.15 for a two-fish aggregate of 72.95 and fifth place. “We fish a bunch of tournaments and that’s just one of our go-to spots,” said Captain Lee Way. He fished with his wife, Heather, plus CJ Johnston and Sebastian Dutraelli on their Mercury powered SeaVee. They had fish biting on both the long line and the downriggers, using goggle eyes and blue runners they caught that morning. One of the kings was barely hooked in the gill plate. Saturday, Second Chance had six kings over 30 pounds and released the fish they didn’t weigh. “I always stress to my daughter that if we don’t put them back, she won’t have them to catch later,” said Lee. Sunday they caught four kings and released three. Thanks for being good stewards of the fishery! Second Chance/Team Mercury is booking a suite for Nationals.

Larry Vogt out of Palm Coast, Florida fishes on a Mercury powered Fountain called Bam Bam with Steve Carman and Matt Grannetti. They placed sixth with a 63.45 aggregate. They had a 28.95 on day one and backed it up with a nice 34.50 on day two fishing in the 21 Bottom area where they had pre-fished a week before and released a mid 40-pounder. It was nasty in the morning and started to flatten out about 1:30 when one of Lee’s goggle eyes was hit on the downrigger at 55’. They had marked some bait that looked like blue runners. “We knew it was a good fish when it took off,” said Larry. “The fight was pretty typical.” Steve fought the fish and Larry stuck her with the gaff.

They had a couple of snappers for the table, too, and caught four kings on the first day. The team likes the Ancient City format change because it all but removes the luck factor. “The leaderboard can really change,” he said. “If you have a bad day, you’re chasing two big fish.” Bam Bam appreciates the support of Mercury Outboards and MarineMax and they are solidifying plans for this year’s Nationals.

Mark the Kingfish Challenge as another SKA-sanctioned tournament with higher numbers than last year. Under the leadership of tournament director Matt Morse, many volunteers from the Ancient City Game Fish Association and the community produced a great event with vendors, entertainment, a junior angler event, a backwater tournament, first-class awards, and a tasty fish dinner. Payouts were based on 100 boats, but with 95 participants, the tournament honored the full payout schedule.

Ancient City Gamefish Challenge

Open Class

90.251. REEL QUICK
Contender / Yamaha
Jerry Carter
Jeremy Carter
Jill Elder
Tracy Carter
Jim Thomas
82.552. TOTAL CHAOS
Yellowfin / Yamaha
Jason Solano
Morgan Nelson
John King
Steven Barett
76.903. Preventive Maintenance
74.804. CRAWFISH
Contender / Yamaha
Kenny Crawford
Al Morris
Matthew Farlow
Chris Cathey
Lyle Rose
72.955. SECOND CHANCE / TEAM MERCURY
SeaVee / Mercury
Harry Lee Way
Heather Way
63.456. BAM BAM
Fountain / Mercury
Larry Vogt
Steve Carman
Matt Giannetti
62.957. Salty Dog
53.458. FISHBUSTER
Bluewater / Mercury
Robert Bishop
Kristen Bishop
50.509. Salt Therapy
50.2010. Double K

Top Lady Anglers
90.251. Jill Elders & Tracy Carter
REEL QUICK

SKA Top Junior Anglers
46.601. Doc Massey
HOT SPOT / NOS ENERGY





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