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Division: 5 Jacksonville, Florida 34th Annual Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament July 21-26, 2014

Second Chance/Team Mercury Wins the Greater Jax Shootout with an Even 72-pound Aggregate!

By Christine Rodenbaugh

Jacksonville, Florida — The format for the 34th Annual Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament was tweaked just a bit from last year. All teams were eligible to fish Friday’s General Tournament and 195 boats hit the water looking for a fish big enough to put them in one of the top 20 spots that would qualify them to compete in Saturday’s Shootout. Only 59 teams brought fish to the scales on Friday and there were no 40-pounders. First place in Saturday’s Shootout was based on the heaviest king over the two days of fishing and the prize was a Key Largo 2100 with a Mercury motor and trailer valued at more than $35,000. Second through twentieth places were based on the aggregate of Friday and Saturday’s fish—one per day. Five SKA teams qualified to compete in Saturday’s Shootout.

Lee Way fishes with his wife, Heather, and daughter, Jordyn, on their 29’ Mercury powered Sea Vee named Second Chance/Team Mercury. They spend a lot of time together on the water having logged 170 hours on their Optis since June of this year. The Way family made a 60-mile run in three- to four-footers to a spot in 120 feet of water they’ve been frequenting for tournaments. The team had a 30.50 on Friday and made the cut for Saturday.

Usually the team releases kings they don’t plan to weigh, but Heather was interested in bringing in a donate fish to earn a ticket for the raffle. They had their 30 in the boat and had released several teenagers, but kept fishing when a line went off and Heather picked up the rod. She had a hard time getting it to the boat and asked Lee to take over. “It was foul hooked,” explained Lee, “When we finally brought it to the boat it was dead.” This was the perfect opportunity for Jordyn to get some experience on the gaff. She was a bit hesitant at first, but she’s seen her dad do it over the years and stuck the fish just like he would. They made it to the check-in boat with just three minutes to spare and the foul hooked 22-pounder got them a raffle ticket that was pulled for a bean bag.

Their go-to spot hadn’t let them down, so they went back on Saturday. The weather was nice, but it was choppy in the morning going out. When they arrived at their destination, Lee began jigging for bait and got a nice blue runner. Just when Lee started letting the blue runner out, the bait took off. After a short, 15-minute fight they had a king in the boat. “It was a real short, fat fish and looked just like several 37s we had caught before,” said Lee. The team kept fishing and released several in the 30s before heading to the weigh-in. Lee was surprised when the king pushed the scales down to 41.50 for an even 72-pound aggregate. They had the only 40-pounder in the tournament and took home the boat, motor, and trailer package plus Jordyn banked $500 for the Mercury Junior Angler Scholarship Award.

Jerry Moulton on Another Tangle, a Contender powered by Yamaha, just picked a spot out of the blue after getting bait from Lee’s Live Baits on Friday. He had his first and only fish within 20 minutes and the 29.05 was good enough for 14th and a spot in the Shootout. After Saturday morning’s Shootout captains meeting, Jerry stopped to get pogies on the beach before heading back to the same numbers he fished Friday. The kings seemed to have left the area, but he stayed anyway and went to work jigging up some bigger, fresher baits. He got three at about 10:30. He put one way back, another down, and before he could get the third in the water, the line way back went off and the reel screamed. “You know it’s a big one when the reel does that. Offshore they run differently,” Jerry explained. The fish was still 40 feet back when it came to the surface and he could see the hook in the top of his head. Jerry told the crew to ready the gaff. The plan was to take the boat by the king, hoping it would stay on top, and stick it with the gaff. The plan worked and at 11:00 Another Tangle began the 60-mile run back to the scales. Jerry added 37.45 to Friday’s 29.05 and moved from 14th in the General to second place in the Shootout with a 66.50 aggregate and took home a Mercury motor valued at more than $35,000. 

Steve Lucie has been fishing with the SKA forever. Really. His member number is 00004-0. He used to fish a larger boat called Mellow Yellow but recently downsized to a 24’ Shaeffer bay boat powered by Yamaha and outfitted with Simrad electronics. It’s ice blue and named Little Man. “I can fish for reds in 18” of water, then go for tarpon, and still target kings 50 miles offshore,” Steve emphasized and went on to say, “It’s a cool little deal; it’s a big change. I can’t run 50mph. I gotta run a little slower, but I get there. And I only burned 100 gals for the whole weekend!”

On Friday, the Little Man team of Capt. Lucie, Jimmy McIntire, Andy Pettit, Bill Pujadas, and William Pujadas went to a spot due east to the 21 Bottom because it produces kings pretty consistently. Running in two- to four-foot seas, they got there about 9:00 and five minutes after they got their baits in the water, the fish hit a goggle about 40’ down. “It was a good start to the day,” Steve told me. He angled the king and Jimmy gaffed her. The seas smoothed out and it got miserably hot when the team heard thunder about 2:00 and decided to head closer to shore to scout the beach pre-fishing for the Shootout. They qualified in fifth place on day 1 with a 32.90. 

Day two was a shorter fish day because of the early captains meeting and the team needed to catch bait. They stopped for pogies on the beach and headed to the Red Tops. A king hit a ribbonfish on the downrigger within ten minutes. It was a pretty good fish, but not the one they were looking for. Closer to 11:00 they hooked up to a high 30s fish, but on the second circle they saw one hook pull. The other hook couldn’t stick and they lost her. Still, Steve remarked, “We had a great tournament; not a lot of fish but the fish we caught were high quality.” The first fish on Saturday weighed 26.80 and put the team in fifth place for the Shootout. They’d like to go to Nationals and see the changes at the Golden Nugget, but in a bigger boat.

Don Frattle, captain of Fratt House, appreciates the efforts of his team who worked so hard to get the boat rigged and ready plus stayed up two nights catching bait. The Seafood Kitchen boat was not ready in time, so they jumped on Fratt House for the Greater Jax. They headed north to the Elton grounds in the Scout powered by Yamaha. 

Fratt House used bluefish, river mullet, and goggles trying to attract their prey in 115 feet of water. They released a smaller fish about noon and didn’t hook up again until 2:45 when the downrigger line went off. They quickly cleared the lines and took care of business to run the 47 nautical miles back to the scale in time for the weigh-in. Their king weighed 31.50 pounds and put them in 11th place going into the Shootout. Unfortunately, they had livewell issues on Saturday and couldn’t find a fish on the beach. 

Several teams reported catching snapper coming up to 40 or 60 feet while trolling in 100 to 120 feet of water. That’s unusual; snapper usually stay closer to the bottom. Fratt House had some nice 20-pounders that they could take home for supper since the Greater Jax tournament fell on two of the eight days that snapper was open in Atlantic Federal Waters this year. Fratt house is having a good year, but they’re really looking forward to 2015 when they will be competing in a new 33’ Onslow Bay. Thanks go out to their sponsors: Frattle Stairs and Rails and e-design web services.

The leaderboard shows that fishing was hard at this year’s Greater Jax tournament with just 30% of the field weighing fish and only 13 kings over 30 pounds on Friday. Lee Way had the biggest fish of the event, a 41.50, and also the highest aggregate at 72 pounds. Just eight out of 20 boats found a fish on Saturday and only three of those were 30 pounds or more. I wonder if there were teams who caught fish on Friday, but didn’t weigh in because they thought their fish wasn’t big enough to make the top 20. That would be an unfortunate decision and a lesson to always weigh in. The slight changes in the format were well received and we look forward to greater participation and bigger fish next year at one of the country’s largest saltwater tournaments.

34th Annual Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament

Open Class

38.101. That's What I Do
35.502. Blue Steel
35.353. Endorfin
33.304. Tina Marie
32.905. LITTLE MAN
Shaeffer / Yamaha
Steve Lucie
Jimmy McIntire
Andy Pettit
Bill Pujadas
William Pujadas
32.756. SALTY DAWG
Wellcraft / Yamaha
Dave Osborne
Jeff Osborne
Hunter Osborne
Jake Osborne
32.657. Blue Osprey
32.458. Family Tradition
32.259. Gotcha Covered
31.5010. Papa Son

Open Class (Aggregate)

Sea Vee / Mercury
Lee Way
Heather Way
Jordyn Way
Contender / Yamaha
Jerry Moulton
60.153. Flat Chested
59.704. LITTLE MAN
Shaeffer / Yamaha
Steve Lucie
Jimmy McIntire
Andy Pettit
Bill Pujadas
William Pujadas
59.705. Papa Son
58.106. Blue Osprey
57.807. Endorfin
46.458. Blue Steel
38.109. That's What I Do
33.3010. Tina Marie
32.7511. SALTY DAWG
Wellcraft / Yamaha
Dave Osborne
Jeff Osborne
Hunter Osborne
Jake Osborne
32.4512. Family Tradition
32.2513. Gotcha Covered
31.5014. FRATT HOUSE
Scout / Yamaha
Donald Frattle Jr.
30.1515. Kelly W
27.3016. Tropical Breeze
27.1517. Ms Sassey
26.9518. Watered Down
26.1019. OCEANVIEW
Fountain / Mercury
Ron Roberson
26.0520. Fogleman Bldrs Supply

Top Lady Anglers
30.501. Heather Way

Top Senior Angler
32.90Steve Lucie, Jimmy McIntire, Andy Pettit, Bill Pujadas

Top Junior Angler
32.90Jake & Hunter Osborne

SKA Top Junior Anglers
32.901. Jake & Hunter Osborne
30.502. Jordyn Way

Mercury Marine Junior Angler Scholarship Winner
Jordyn Way

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