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2008 Season

Fish Fever Wins 2008 SKA National Championship Open Class!

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Biloxi, Mississippi - Salt-encrusted masks of frozen torture melted into wind-burned smiles and shouts of elation, especially for the crews of Fish Fever and East Coast Sports.

Those aforementioned boats were crowned champions at the Southern Kingfish Association National Championship at Biloxi in a tournament where the rules changed when a hard cold front raced past the Gulf Coast prior to the tournament’s start.

SKA Director Jack Holmes gave the captains a choice during the final pre-tournament meeting with several options. Because of small craft advisories, boats had the choice to weigh in one fish per day...

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East Coast Sports Wins 2008 Class of 23!

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Biloxi, Mississippi - Salt-encrusted masks of frozen torture melted into wind-burned smiles and shouts of elation, especially for the crews of Fish Fever and East Coast Sports.


Those aforementioned boats were crowned champions at the Southern Kingfish Association National Championship at Biloxi in a tournament where the rules changed when a hard cold front raced past the Gulf Coast prior to the tournament’s start.

 

SKA Director Jack Holmes gave the captains a choice during the final pre-tournament meeting with several options. Because of small craft advisories, boats had the choice to weigh in one fish per day...

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The Courtside Grille / Top Gun wins again at the 17th Annual Fall Gators

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Treasure Island, Florida – It's tough to win a kingfish tournament once let alone twice, but four first place finishes at the same event is something special. David Heavenridge and his Courtside Grille/Top Gun team have obviously learned the secret to catching big kingfish in the Gulf in November. Fishing with Heavenridge on the big Yanmar powered Spectre were crewmates Ron Kien, Warren Williams, and junior anglers Cameron and Josh Heavenridge.

Captain Dave's first SKA victory came during the fall Treasure Island event in 2003. Not only did Heavenridge win that Gator's event, he also captured the first place award in 2005 and again in 2007. Now, just one year later, Heavenridge and his crew carried a 38.59 pound king caught by eight-year-old Josh, to the tournament scales for the Top Gun's fourth Suncoast Classic win. Ron has also done well in this event, winning the 1991 inaugural tournament and also taking home the top prize in 1998 with another team.

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GAINEY’S MILLER TIME IS TOP SKA TEAM IN OCEAN ISLE’S FALL BRAWL!

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Holden Beach, North Carolina - The final Division 9 event of the season was won by Brent Gainey's Miller Time team with a 29.35. "We were near Red & White, about 15 miles from the tower," said Gainey. "We were looking for warmer water and lots of bait."

They were fishing in 110 feet of water at two o'clock when they experienced a triple hookup. "We were fishing with mullet. We fought all three kings because we didn't know which one could count," explained Gainey. "The big one came to the boat in a short ten minutes.

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TEAM DONZI’S 34.00 BEST AT RUMBLE IN THE JUNGLE!

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Ken Upton, Dan Upton, and Jack Wood, are distinctly Team Donzi, an extremely good North Carolina fishing team. Not only does a team have to be able to put big fish on the scale but also must possess the talent to communicate. Jack Wood has that ability and used it on Saturday when seas flared up and left few options on the table as to where to fish.

Their original plan was to make the run to Topsail but because of rough seas they stayed close to the inlet. One of Woods friends was fishing the tournament just south of where Team Donzi was located. They had lost a couple of fish and seen several sky and reported same to Woods.

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KIM’S KATCH BAGS A 41-POUND KING TO WIN SULLIVAN’S ISLAND

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Sullivan's Island, South Carolina – Dennis Pierce, Anthony and Chad Bloodworth, and Joel and Narissa Hair, fishing the 25-foot Evinrude powered Sea Fox named Kim's Katch, were in 23rd place in the standings going into the final event of Division Three. They were on the bubble as to whether they would qualify for Biloxi but they were determined to go. They will thanks to a winning 41.01.

"We were fishing in a secret spot 25 miles south of Charleston," said Bloodworth. "Narissa was fighting what later turned out to be a 26 pound king about 10 o'clock. We cleared the lines, but left one out about 25 feet behind the boat. That's the one the big girl hit. Chad picked up that line and worked for a good 25 minutes before Joel had a shot at her with the gaff."

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TIDE ONE ON IS TOP SKA BOAT AT ONSLOW BAY WITH A 46.06!

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Swansboro, North Carolina – Chad Shingleton ran his 21 foot Yamaha powered Wellcraft into second place with a great 46.06. It was the first place SKA boat! The Tide One On, thanks to this 46, also won the Division in Class of 23 and gets a trip to the Nationals on us. (Free entry and $270 for a room).

The tournament had to be postponed for one week due to expected bad weather but still drew 63 boats. The top four boats caught kings in the 40s.

Shingleton had some pogies penned up so he could run right to the Summerlin Reef. "I knew the fish were there," Chad announced. "We were in 60 feet of water at 9:45 when she hit a pogy on the surface. My fishing buddy Dave Arnold grabbed the rod and moved to the front of the boat as the big king kept peeling off line, 350 yards. I first thought it was a Wahoo. As soon as we began our chase we knew we had a shot at the fish. After 15 minutes she came up next to the boat on her side and I hit her with the gaff."

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GOLDMAN’S RELENTLESS TEAM SCALES A 45.95

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Biloxi, Mississippi - The Goldmans, Bennie Sr., Jr., and Jeremy, plus Joey Lapeyrouse overcame big seas and scaled a 45.95 to win the Palace Casino Resorts King Mackerel Tournament in Biloxi.

"This was our first win," said the Senior Goldman. "It sure feels good but we really got beat up out there. They were calling for 2 to 4 foot seas but I believe they were every bit 5 to 7." Goldman went on to tell me, "We ran 100 miles and found clean blue water. We were fishing hard tails in 230 feet of water when the 46 hit downrigger bait 100 feet down. Jeremy fought the fish for 20 to 25 minutes before Bennie stuck her.

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R-RATED SCORES SECOND 2008 WIN

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Cape Canaveral, Florida – After being postponed for three weeks by tropical storm Fay that unloaded several inches of rain and flooded many areas along the east coast of Florida, promises of sunny skies and calm seas welcomed everyone to the Fish Lips Bar and Grill for the Salty Marine, Canaveral Mac Attack - the final event in the 2008 Division 10 race. At stake was a beautiful 21' Contender Boat equipped with a Yamaha Outboard and custom trailer, the guaranteed first place prize that would go home with the fishing team who could bring the heaviest king mackerel to the scales.

As the left the Saturday morning checkout, the 2008 Kingbuster 400 winner, Rembrandt Gray and his crew on the R-rated headed southeast for about 27 miles to the 21 Fathom Ledge where they had caught a couple good kings earlier in the year. For about 200 yards the bottom drops off from 75 to 90 feet along this ledge. As the current hits the structure, water is forced upward and lots of goodies are carried to the surface. Several schools of blue runners and Spanish mackerel were happily snacking on the smaller baitfish that were being forced to the surface by the tide.

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KNOT KIDDIN’s 48.70 POUND KING SMOKES THE FIELD AT THE SOUTH BRUNSWICK

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Holden Beach, North Carolina – With Bluewater Promotions' guaranteed top prize of $20,000, king fishermen from all over North and South Carolina made the trip to this quaint little town just north of Myrtle Beach to compete in this year's South Brunswick Island Saltwater Classic sponsored by Yellowfin, Mercury, GMC, and Boater's World Marine Centers, the third stop on the Southern Kingfish Association's Division 9 trail. With the North Carolina General Assembly's nearly unanimous decision to overturn Governor Easley's veto and the congressmen's decision to make the changes to the state's boat trailering regulations effective immediately, fishermen had no fear of being stopped while traveling to the Holden Beach Marina located between North Carolina's Lockwood Folly and Bacon Inlets. The weatherman had promised perfect conditions for Saturday and reports of lots of kingfish in the area during the week had everyone excited at the captains meeting.

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MONEY SHOT IS THE BEST AT GREGORY POOLE’S BEAUFORT OFFSHORE CELEBRITY CLASSIC!

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Beaufort, North Carolina -- Drew Stephenson, Jody Yarbrough, Derek Savage, and Jon Patterson teamed on the Class of 23 Yamaha powered Contender, Money Shot, and won the tournament with a nice 41.15. They also picked up Class of 23 money. This was their first event as Team Money Shot. Then add to the fact that another good fish in the Atlantic Beach Tournament and they could win the Division. One thing for sure, they will get the nod to go to Biloxi and possibly like Stan Jarusinski and his Captain Stanman team, bring the title back to North Carolina.

"We had a 35 we were fighting when the 41 hit a bluefish we had left out," explained team member Jody Yarbrough. " We were fishing the 1700 Rock where she hit a flat line about 10:30. We worked to get the 35 in the boat then went to work on the bigger king although at the time we didn't know really how big she was. She stayed under the boat and when she came out Derek gaffed her. When she hit the deck we knew she was a good one."

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OCEAN ATHLETE SCALES A 46.47 TO WIN 17TH ANNUAL SNEADS FERRY

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Swansboro, North Carolina – Catching big fish is as routine as stopping at the 7-11 for Skip Conklin. No big deal!

"We fished on the east side of Cape Lookout," Conklin reported. "It's the only place to fish. We were in 80 feet of water at 8:30 and were using fresh caught pogy's." Their king hit a surface trolled bait. "She made one long run into the wind. After 20 minutes Jay had her to the side of the boat and I stuck her," Conklin added. The team of Jay Russell and Sandy Conklin knew it was a good fish so they came to the scale early, about one o'clock.

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FISHING FOR MIRACLES

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Charleston, South Carolina – Great weather and calm seas welcomed the two hundred thirty-one teams as they converged on the Ripley Light Yacht Club to take part in the 15th Annual Key West Boat's Fishing for Miracles King Mackerel Tournament. This charity driven event has raised well over $250,000 to help sick children at the Medical University of South Carolina's Pediatric Intensive Care Center and also to help fund projects for the CCA of South Carolina who look out for South Carolina's recreational fishermen.

The Reel Hooked boat, a Mercury powered Donzi captained by Beaufort, SC's Shane Hicks, would land a 38.32 pound king on day two of the event to take home the $25,000 first place prize. Fishing with Hicks was his wife Jill, son Tyler, David and Kathy Watson and junior angler Guy Talley. "Friday we fished out of Beaufort and caught several small fish but could only find a 20 pound king to take to the scales" said Hicks. "Saturday we decided to fish 20 miles east of Charleston on some live bottom in 55 feet of water where I had caught some good kings before."

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EXTERMINADER WINS FINAL EVENT IN DIVISION 5, DAYTONA SALTWATER CLASSIC!

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Daytona Beach, Florida – Randy Nader and the Exterminader team won the inaugural Daytona Saltwater Classic with a great 47.30. What's nice about the Classic is there's no check out, so Randy, Ray Nader, Janie Nader, Lance and Layne Cote, and Jerry Moulton stayed home and fished an area called the Aquarium off Jacksonville.

At 8:15 the 47 hit a blue runner with a Workman pink bonnet on the surface. Jerry said, "I grabbed the rod and immediately knew that it was a good fish." They didn't know how good till Ray gaffed the fish and swung her over the gunwale. "We knew she was in the mid forties," said Randy. "It was a long time till the scales opened and it wasn't too bad of a run down to Daytona to weigh, so we went snapper fishing."

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WEATHERS’ TRIPLE GOBBLE IS BEST AT BMI!

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Beaufort, South Carolina – The Weathers, Jeff and Greg used their experience fishing the Yamaha Professional Kingfish Tour the week prior in St. Simons Island, Georgia, to propel them to the top of the BMI leader board. "We had found an area 60 miles south of Beaufort that was holding fish," said Jeff who caught their 37.80-pound winning king. "We were fishing in 80 feet of water at 9 AM when she hit a blue runner trolled 40 feet down. It was just a routine fight, only took fifteen minutes before Greg stuck her." Later that day, after all fish had been weighed at Port Royal Landing Marina, the tournament committee presented Triple Gobble's Jeff and Greg a check for $10,035. Pretty good for a days fishing!

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TURNER LOOSE / ANGELA MARIE TOP SKA BOAT IN GALVESTON

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Galveston, Texas - Fishing was feast or famine at this year's Texas Kingfish Classic held at the Galveston Yacht Basin. The fishermen who found good fish were covered up with big kings and those that didn't could not buy a decent fish.

The Turner Loose/Angela Marie team, skippered by Chad Cotie with Jill Turner, David Turner, Chico Chamorro and James Turner on board headed due east after they checked out at the Galveston Jetty's but soon ran into some rough seas so they decided to head their Mercury powered Fountain southeast and ran 65 miles to the Clay Piles where they had caught some decent fish during the Texas Deep Sea Rodeo. After a couple of hours with only a few small kings to show for their efforts, the decision was made to run further northeast into Louisiana waters to spot where the they had caught good fish before. "We knew of an area with lots of structure on the bottom in about 150' of water" said Cotie. "We were only there a short while when something big ate a hardtail way back on one of our long baits. The fish didn't take any line and we assumed it was a big shark by the way it fought." Jill kept the pressure on and I headed the boat toward the fish. As we got nearer, we could see that the shark somehow had turned into a big kingfish."

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UNREEL’S 43.90 BIGGEST IN ATLANTIC BEACH KING MACKEREL TOURNAMENT!

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Atlantic Beach, North Carolina - It wasn't the biggest king mackerel Steve Squires of Kinston, North Carolina, has ever caught but his 43.90 caught in the Atlantic Beach King Mackerel Tournament was without a doubt his most memorable.

The Unreel Fishing Team of Squires, Mel Hoard, John Moore, Danny Wallace, and junior angler Grayson Ketterer, made a 20-mile run to the 1700 Rock. "We've been fishing this area for the past two tournaments," said Squires after being proclaimed the winner of the largest annual event in northern North Carolina. "It's been holding good bait which is a good sign there's predators."

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TEAM CONCEPT TAMES THE RALEIGH SPORTFISHING CLUB’S KMT!

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Atlantic Beach, North Carolina - A 39.55 caught by Team Concept was good enough to win the 24th Annual Raleigh Sportfishing Club's KMT. "We never got started till late morning," said team Captain, Blake Justice. "We were looking for good baits."

Blake then ran the Mercury powered Concept boat to four different areas but did not like what he saw. "We settled for the 1700 Rock because of the bait in the water," he explained. "I'm pretty picky when it comes to where we fish. We started fishing the uncharted ledges there and hooked up right away." Arthur Hall picked up the rod while Robin and Debbie Hood cleared lines. "It should have been routine until someone shouted cuda," Blake continued. The team was in 90 feet of water fighting a possible winning king that had eaten a good pogy on the surface. "That Barracuda chased the king and we did everything we could to keep it away," the story continued. "Finally we got her close enough to the boat to stick her but the cuda was right behind. I think we just got lucky."

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NO MERCY TACKLES GOLDEN ISLES! WINS WITH A 49.18!

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St. Simons Island, Georgia – You could see the frustration in their faces as the No Mercy team watched Spud Woodard, the tournament's official weighmaster, read out the weight of their king brought in on day one of the two-day event. "49.18," he proclaimed to the scorekeeper. "We really thought it would go 50," said one of the team members.

It didn't really make a difference. None of the other 175 teams competing this weekend would come close. But they did get a heck of a scare when Rick Smith, Past National Champion and Angler of the Year on the Wild Turkey, came to the scale. They were last to weigh on day two and were toting a hefty fish bag. The team hoisted it on the biologist table and opened the bag. Inside, a fish that would certainly surpass 49 pounds. It took a minute for everyone to realize it was a wahoo. The win for No Mercy was intact and I announced same, plus the fact that they just won a 21' Yamaha powered Contender complete with a Custom Aluminum Loadmaster Trailer provided by Hickory Bluff Marine.

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ESCAPE ROUTE’S 37.86 TOPS CHARLESTON SALTWATER CLASSIC!

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Charleston, South Carolina – The Escape Route, a Yamaha powered Hydra Sports team made up of Ashley Easterlin, Tony & Alex Armstrong, and Danny Mikell, scaled a 37.86 to win the Charleston Kingfish Classic. "We caught bait in a live bottom area 25 miles south of Charleston," explained Easterlin, the team Captain. "We found good bait there and just stayed and fished." It was an early bite coming at 8 AM. "She hit a ribbonfish off the downrigger set 35 feet down. Danny was on the rod when a ten to twelve foot hammerhead shark began chasing the king. Danny kept putting the reel in free spool to let the king out run the shark. Finally, on the fourth try, he got her to the boat and Tony literally pulled her in out of the sharks jaws with the gaff."

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INAUGURAL TEXAS DEEP SEA RODEO WON BY BOOGEYMAN!

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Freeport, Texas - Carl Christoph called me at the end of the season last year with the idea of producing a Rodeo in Texas. "Over the next few years it could rival the Alabama Deep Sea Rodeo and the Grand Isle Tarpon Rodeo," he lamented. A great vision I told him but I wasn't sure if the fisher people of Texas would support it and how about prizes. After all, both of the other Rodeos have over 70 years of tradition, but I'm not one to burst someone's bubble. I gave it my blessing and support and insured the event with a 21' Yamaha powered Contender boat as a top prize and secured another Yamaha motor for another prize boat.

For a first-time event it went very, very well. A few glitches, but it became apparent Carl will have to staff up. It was a good event however the inshore side should have had more participants, especially with his prize structure. The king mackerel side was great for Carl, poor for us. Not enough members, which could cause us to pull the plug on Texas. Certainly a blow to the members there but very few people fish offshore in Texas, especially when you consider the size of the state and its population.

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PLUMB FUN WINS GREATER JAX SKA TEAMS TAKE HOME TOP HONORS IN ALL CATAGORIES

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Jacksonville, Florida – 648 boats converged on the Sister's Creek Marina to compete for the 25' Contender boat equipped with two 200hp Yamaha outboards and a custom Loadmaster Trailer that would go to the winner of this year's AT&T Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament & Festival. Fishing teams from all over the South travel to this little park near the mouth of the St. Johns River every year to compete for all the prizes and the hope of winning this prestigious event. This is the Indianapolis 500 of kingfish tournaments and a win here will put your name into the record books. The fishing was tough and big kings were hard to find but SKA fishermen would lead the way winning the top awards in all categories. Richard Geiger's Wavedancer would catch two nice kings to take home the Class of 23' top prize. The overall aggregate prize would go to the Rodeffer clan on the Team Invincible/Gameday and this year's top big fish award would go to Michael E. and Michael P. Crabtree and crew on their 23T Contender, the Plumb Fun.

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YOKELEY’S MATERHEAD BEST AT CARTERET COUNTY SPORTFISHING ASSOCIATION’S KMT!

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Atlantic Beach, North Carolina - Mark Yokeley has been fishing SKA events for the last 14 years. You've seen his name in this magazine and on leader boards too many times to count. Well, the superb fisherman has another notch in his belt, winner of the Carteret County Sportfishing Association's KMT.

He won this weekend and didn't burn much fuel, either, fishing the 1700 Rock which he says "...is a good spot this time of year."

Using pogies he caught, Mark hooked up his winning 35.85 around 12:30 and spent little time getting her to the boat and likewise to the scale. The king was taken off a downrigger 25 feet below the surface.

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BYRD DOG WINS THE 76TH EDITION OF THE ALABAMA DEEP SEA FISHING RODEO!

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Dauphin Island, Alabama - You'd be hard pressed to find anything wrong with the annual production of the largest saltwater tournament in the country. Many found fault with Mother Nature however.

It's bad enough to have the pressure of trying to win one of the truly prestigious events in the country and the biggest on the Gulf coast, but this particular weekend everything was going against the king mackerel fisher people.

The water from the Mississippi River, swollen with northern rainwater, had changed the Gulf significantly since our visit to Fourchon, Louisiana in June. Add to that flat, calm seas, the heat index over 95 degrees, no current to move the chocolate water, and a full moon. Everyone complained!

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BRYANT’S REEL SHADY CAPTURES ANCIENT CITY TITLE WITH A 53.75!

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St. Augustine, Florida – James Bryant, Steve Wilson, and Shane Hood came to the St. Augustine Marina docks, site of the Ancient City Kingfish Challenge, on day two with a king they thought would go 40 pounds. "Handle that fish with care," I told them after they got their picture taken. "That's the tournament winner." I think they took my comments half hardily however, but after the long walk up the dock and the biologist inspection, she went on the scale. Jim Blaylock, the official weigh master, pronounced 53.75 and the Reel Shady Team had a great, no, super victory in their back pocket.

"I couldn't believe that fish was that big," said an excited Bryant, the captain of the Mercury powered Fountain team. "We didn't do well on Saturday. We had a motor down and were going to stay on the trailer Sunday. But we decided to go because the boat does quite well with two motors. We checked out and ran to some numbers we had that were 60 miles from the inlet in 110 feet of water. We no sooner had put out a spread of blue runners when top bait got smacked. Shane picked up the rod and because he got her to the boat we never put out another bait all day. We were back on the beach by 10'clock."

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Double J’s Big King is Best at the Bluff

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Darien, Georgia – The Double J's big 48.20 pound kingfish proved to be more than enough to win the battle at the Capt. Hap Kingfish Bash on the Bluff and take home the Mercury powered Carolina Skiff and Loadmaster trailer valued at over $20,000 that went to the winner. Also fishing on the Double J were crew members Rusty Rogers, Bill Blunt and Scott Reynolds. "We were fishing on the Back side of Gray's Reef in 90 to 100 feet of water," said Captain Gregory. "Early in the day we had caught and released three small kings and a Cuda and had a 25 pound fish in the box. Just after noon, we started free-lining some blue runners back into a big school of bait that came up behind the boat. One of the runners made a big mistake and headed down deep where something ate it. The fish went right down to the bottom and stayed there. At first we thought it was a big amberjack but after a few minuets it started to run and we knew we had a good king." After a fifteen minute battle, Jerry horsed the big fish to the boat; both Scott and Rusty gaffed the fish and placed it gently into the Contenders waiting fishbox. "We caught a couple big kings during the 2000 Nationals but this is by far the largest king that we have caught since we started fishing SKA events," said the excited captain. The Double J also took home the $2000 gift certificate from the Pacific Fins Resort that was awarded to the top SKA Team fishing this Division 4 tournament.

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MCMULLANS OCEAN ISLE FISHING CENTER’S 34.15 TOPS GOT-EM-ON FIELD!

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Shallotte, North Carolina – Captain Brant, a perennial winner in the Carolinas, did it again. This time winning the East Coast Got-Em-On with a nice 34.15 and took home $21,075.

Brant McMullan, his dad Rube, and Brian Aycock from Ocean Isle, North Carolina fished their home waters where they picked up a 29-pound king at 8am. "We spot hopped all day because we knew we were going to weigh in the 29," said Brant. "It was our intent to end up at the inlet. We arrived there at 3:30 and immediately put out a spread including a ribbonfish 19 feet down. We were cleaning up the boat getting ready to run into the scale when she hit the ribbon. Brian fought the king, which was foul hooked in the stomach. It was 4:16 and by 4:27 dad stuck her with the gaff. I guess you could say we got lucky!"

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TEAM AT&T THE REAL YELLOW PAGES ANSWERS THE CALL AT THE SAINT MARYS

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Saint Mary's, Georgia –Kenny Crawford along with crew members Bill Walsh and Al Morris left Fernandina early Saturday morning aboard Kenny's Yamaha powered Contender, the AT&T The Real Yellow Pages, to try and catch a good fish to take home one of the many cash prizes awarded during the first event of the Bluewater Promotions 2008 Saltwater Classic Series held June 27-28 in St. Marys, Georgia. Also on board were first time tournament fishermen Robbie and Mathew Farlow. Crawford's plan was to head back to the same area where they had caught their NSFA event seventh place finishing king the prior weekend. At around 8:30, they were slow trolling their spread in 120' of water about 40 miles east of the inlet, when something attacked a big runner on the surface way back behind the boat. Al Morris picked up the rod and the battle was on. What would turn out to be a big foul hooked King would take "forever" to land, making several long runs in many different directions. When Al finally fought the big king to the boat, Kenny gaffed it and loaded it into the Contender's waiting fish box. The big fish weighed around 40 pounds on Kenny's hand scale

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YELLOWFIN/YAMAHA JOLLY MON KING CLASSIC

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Shallotte, North Carolina – Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina— Captain Brant did it again, pulled off another great event although an SKA team did not finish in the top three. The top SKA team in the Yellowfin / Yamaha Jolly Mon King Classic was Jeremy and Ron Harrelson on the Reel Action. The Honda powered Sea Pro team scaled a great 34.95 to earn fourth but beat 180 other SKA teams and some really big names.

After finishing seventh last year in this event, the team really wanted to prove they were better. But if anything could go wrong it did this weekend. "We pre-fished on Friday but found we had water in the fuel. After four hours of trying to catch bait we limped home with nothing in the live well," said Jeremy. They made the necessary repairs and Saturday morning headed south. "We spent another four and a half hours looking for bait and finally gave up. We fished in 70 feet of water just offshore of the Jungle."

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TUNA TALES GAFFS NSFA WIN BY .02 HUNDREDTHS OF A POUND!

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Fernandina Beach, Florida – After barely surviving a wild Kingbuster 400, Captain Ralph Olivett and his crew on the Tuna Tales learned what it's like to experience both the highs and lows of fishing kingfish tournaments in just a couple of weeks. After crew members David Sillick broke his leg and Ken Wittmer tried to cut off his toes during the Kingbuster, to catch a beautiful 45.40 pound smoker two weeks later and win the Nassau Sport fishing Associations, 26th Annual Tournament of Champions event in Fernandina Beach is definitely what Capt. Ralph describes as his "Zero to Hero" team. Their winning fish ate a Palm Beach goggle eye fished on the surface in 120 feet of water near the Red Tops at around 1pm on Friday, the first day of the tournament. Steve Martin fought the winning fish for well over an hour before teammate Kenny Wittmer was able to gaff the big king and load it into a waiting fish bag.

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TEAM EMPIRE / REEL DAWG TOPS TWO-WAY WITH A 46.34!

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Brunswick, Georgia – Steve Greer Jr., Mark Covington, Jeff Greer, Michael Greer, and Dawson Covington who fish the Team Empire / Reel Dawg Yamaha powered Contender, could only show a 15.86 for their efforts in the season opener in Sapelo, Georgia. "We've been to the Nationals three years in a row and our best finish was a fifth," said Greer. "We want to go back, and we want a win." His first step to ensure that happens came at the second event of Division 4, the Two Way Sportfishing Club's Kingfish Tournament. "We ran about 25 miles offshore where we deployed a spread of blue runners," Greer added. It wasn't long and the team had a king they knew had a shot at the $10,000 first place prize. "She hit a long line on the surface at 8:30 and 15 minutes later Mark stuck her," Greer explained.

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SURREEL’S 57.57 SWEEPS THE FIELD AT KAJUN SPORTSMAN’S KING CLASSIC!

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Fourchon, Louisiana - While some of the local Division 7 participants cringed at the sight of a 57.57 coming to the scale from a Pro team who entered the Kajun Sportsman King Classic, others were in awe at such a beautiful fish.

Yes, a team who was in Pro competition won the event. Surreel's Steve Hays and Perry Warner, who came from Florida's west coast, got the job done and won a 23' Yamaha powered Contender with a custom aluminum Loadmaster trailer.

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MSC TEAM TOPS THE FIELD AT THE TAILWALKER OFFSHORE CHALLENGE!

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Georgetown, South Carolina – Topping the field at the 2008 Tailwalker's Offshore Challenge, held June 5-7 out of Tailwalker Marine in Georgetown, SC, David Perry's MSC team, from Murrell's Inlet, SC, weighed in a 39.93 pound king mackerel on Saturday to earn the event's top prize of over $26,000. Perry fished with Jay Sims and Greg Sigmon aboard the team's 35' Mercury-powered Triton, and after fishing the Not So Secret Hole on Day 1, the anglers decided to head south in their hunt for a tourney-winner. "We saw them catch the second place fish right behind us the first day," Perry said. Knowing there were some sizeable kings in the area, most anglers would have returned to the Not So Secret, but Perry didn't like the looks of the ocean, and changed the team's game plan.

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R-RATED’S 47.40 BEST AT KINGBUSTER 400!

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St. Augustine, Florida – I saw Rembrandt Gray sitting with his team on the Spectre / R-Rated boat at the St. Augustine Marina's weigh in dock for the 16th Annual Kingbuster 400, a half hour before the scales opened. It was the first day of the two-day event and Rembrandt was all smiles. "We've got a nice one," he bellowed out.

Jim Jacunski, who caught the fish, opened the fish bag to give me a look-see. It was a good one, alright. Everyone was excited including Hannah Damon, Rembrandt's granddaughter who had won Don Dingman's Junior Angler tournament the day before.

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TODAHUB LEADS PARADE OF 40 POUNDERS TO WIN DIVISION FOUR OPENER IN SAPELO!

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Shellman Bluff, Georgia – Nothing ever stays the same. Just ask the participants of the 28th Annual Sapelo Open, the opening event of the SKA's Division 4. Sapelo has never been known as a big fish tournament. In fact most will tell you to run south, way south if you want any chance of a big fish and then it's not a guarantee. But all that changed this year when six teams presented the weighmaster with 40 pound kings.

In '04 the Right Hook won with a 30 pounder. In '05 it was Playin-to-Win with a 39 and '06 saw Southbound weigh a 34. Last year it was the Double J with a 30. But this year it was magic!

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Hot Rod Takes Checkered Flag at Swansboro with a Double Digit Leader Scaling 42.20!

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For the second time in three years, the Hot Rod fishing team of Brett and Alan Barnes walked away with the $25,000 guaranteed first place prize money in the Swansboro Rotary Club King Mackerel Blue Water Tournament's king mackerel division, the first event in 2008 SKA Division 2 competition. Their win in the annual Memorial Day weekend event came on the strength of a 42.20 pound king that topped the next heaviest fish by nearly 12 pounds.

Not only did they win the event by a double digit weight margin, the father/son team, fishing aboard a 25' Yamaha-powered Contender, caught another fish in the 35 pound class that also would have earned them the big check.

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HORIZON HAZE TOP SKA TEAM AT SUNCOAST KINGFISH CLASSIC!

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Treasure Island, Florida – Horizon Haze Captain, Chuck Weldon, needed a good fish in this event if he wanted to make a statement in Division 6. He only had one fish on the standings list this season, but made up tremendous ground with his winning 32.01. This performance gave the Haze team, Jason and Chris Weldon, second place overall and top SKA team. They have already qualified for the Nationals in Division 11.

"We fished a spot where we've caught fish before," said Chuck. "The G-Cut inside Tampa Bay. We were in 45 feet of water and had a nice ladyfish in the prop wash. The king hit at 7:30 and Jason knew she was a good fish. He grabbed the rod and within minutes Chris stuck her with the gaff. We caught and released six other smaller kings before we decided to come to the scale at Gators."

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NATIVE TEAM ON A ROLL

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Clearwater, Florida–Robert “Cawley” Snibbe, Jerry Solovskoy, and Doug Henriott scaled a 48.25 in the one day, Division six event in Clearwater, Florida to take home another first place prize. The PAL (Pinellas Sheriffs League for Children) Kingfish Tournament paid them $20,000 for their big win and the events title sponsor, ProMarineUSA.com, awarded the team $5,000 for beating the ProMarine teams in the event. I guess you could call that a bounty.

The Native team, fishing a Mercury powered Fountain, has picked up over $85,000 so far this season from a first in the Key West Pros, a fourth place in Marco Island, and seconds in both Naples and Fort Myers. They also won Division 11’s Open Class. After the event Robert told John Zalud they were on their way to Jensen Beach to pre fish for the next Pro event. I guess you can’t be good without doing your homework!

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HASSON AND KEYS TEAM ON THE KNOT ME

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Treasure Island, Florida– While a lot of the front runners ran west to deep water, Brian Hasson, Randy Keys, J.J. Hoyle, Bill Hasson, and junior angler Dominick Molfetas, kept the 23 foot Mercury powered Fountain, Knot Me, close to home. Fishing a mile east of Egmont in 52 feet of water, the team deployed a spread of baits. "It was an early bite," said team Captain Brian Hasson. "We had a ladyfish swimming 28 feet deep off the downrigger. At 9:30 the reel started screaming and JJ picked up the rod. A few minutes later she came over the gunwale and we thought this could be the one."

The Knot Me continued fishing but had no more strikes. When the scales opened at 3 o'clock they were in Johns Pass waiting permission to come to the weigh in dock. Brian presented weigh master Bob Flocken with a nice fish, stood back, and held his breath, hoping she would top the 40 pound mark. When the scale settled Flocken shouted out to scorekeeper Deona Holmes 40.65 and Brian literally jumped for joy.

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TEAM WOLCOTT MARINE HAULS UP TWIN 56 POUNDERS IN FT. MYERS FOR THE WIN!

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Captain Ozzie Fischer and his Wolcott Marine team of junior angler Christian Fischer, Paul Michele, D.J. Wood and Ozzie Lessinger scaled a beautiful 56.14-pound monster king to take an early day one lead over the 57-boat field in the 1st Annual Ft. Myers Kingfish Shootout.

The size of his Saturday king surprised many including Fischer himself, an accomplished tournament angler and noted light tackle guide who calls Ft. Myers Florida home. It would, however, be his team’s Sunday day-two tournament feat that will certainly leave him and many in the SKA ranks saying, “Unbelievable!”

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RINALDO’S NEVER-E-NUFF TEAM IS BEST IN SARASOTA!

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SARASOTA, FLORIDA. Mike Rinaldo’s Never-E-Nuff team has done well over the years fishing SKA events. Last year he finished tenth and second in ’06 in Division eleven, but the team has never won an event, that is till the 14th annual Sarasota Sertoma Kingfish Tournament, the season opener for division 6. Rinaldo’s team of Devin Sanderson, Spencer Bass, and James Heinbaugh, went south of Boca Grande. It was one of those days you’d kind of like to just stay in bed. Winds blowing to 25 miles per hour out of the southwest made things just tolerable, but the Yamaha powered Contender team had a game plan. They had pre-fished the area and believed there was a good king there.

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SECONDS TO SPARE TEAM SMOKES THE NAPLES KINGFISH CLASSIC FIELD WITH A 64.74!

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Knowing they had some work to do after weighing a respectable points fish on day one of the MIACC Naples Kingfish Tournament, the Seconds To Spare team from nearby Ft. Myers, Florida pointed the bow of their Yamaha powered 31’Contender south to an area more than 75 miles from checkout on Sunday.

Their original day-two destination was the scene of a blistering king bite, which ultimately yielded many of the events heaviest fish. While some savvy dockside networking guided Captain Scott Rush Jr. to make that strategic decision for his team, ultimately they didn’t need to run that far before deploying a spread of baits and bagging a beast!

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CHANDLER’S TWIN VEE TOP SKA TEAM IN MIAMI!

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Miami, Florida - Charles “Skip” Chandler and his Suzuki powered Twin Vee catamaran team of Ed Langel and Kadre Benton felt pretty good after day one of the Kingfish Masters held out of Haulover Park in Miami. They had scaled a nice 42.61 on what many were referring to as a slow day of fishing. But it was only half time.

Sure enough, on day two Ivan Souto, who builds boats at the Contender factory and a non-member, came to the scales as they opened with a great 59.96. Chandler was now second. Then late in the day, about ten minutes before the scales closed Native Son, another non-member team presented the weigh master with a 44.11. Chandler got bounced again. He would settle for third, but retained the status of being the number one SKA team.

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KERI-N-ON TEAM SCALES A 50.79 TO WIN THE INAUGURAL GREATER PALM BEACH OFFSHORE 440!

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Lake Park, Florida – The Keri-N-On was the second boat to weigh on day one and Jason Naumann and John Beech presented weigh master and tournament director Jim Scharfschwerdt with a 50.79 caught on their Yamaha powered Contender. "This is the way to inaugurate the first Greater Palm Beach Offshore 440," Jim announced to the large spectator crowd from the event stage. For all intensive purposes the event was over from that point. No one would challenge the Keri-N-On the balance of the day or on day two of the event.

"We were fishing the Juno Ledge area when a little after ten we saw the king hit a blue runner off the kite," said Naumann. John grabbed the rod and after a long 25-minute fight she felt the steel of the gaff."

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TOP DOWN WINS DIVISION 11 SEASON OPENER IN MARCO ISLAND!

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An “Opening Day” atmosphere graced the strong 58-boat field as checkout began shortly before the 7 o’clock Bimini start. The first in a trilogy of events for the 2008 Division 11 season was about to commence.

Strategies were widely diverse for the one-day Marco Island King Fling as the line up of flared bows were pointed in a myriad of course headings in search of big kingfish success.

At first safelight, “Go fish!” was broadcast by tournament co-director Steve Sprigg. Within minutes all had fanned out beyond the Gulf’s horizon as a muted sunrise slowly breached the low level clouds of the eastern skyline.

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MAD MOUSE LEADS A TRIO OF 50’S

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Jensen Beach, Florida – Rob Ferris and Carl Carson scaled the biggest king, a 51.52, on day two of the Francis Langford Memorial Tournament in Jensen Beach, Florida and won $4,000 in cash, a 75 hp Yamaha Outboard valued at over $10,000, and a $7,500 Contender certificate.

Ferris, a general contractor from North Carolina, weighed a 33 pounder on the first day of the event but knew that would not win the event. On day two the duo ran straight offshore 12 miles and deployed their baits. “It didn’t take long,” said an excited Ferris. “We were trolling in 60 feet of water when a blue runner drug off the short line got smacked. I grabbed the rod and by 8:30 she was in the bag.” The team fished for the balance of the morning catching only one other smaller fish, then headed for Four Fish Marina, the tournament site, to wait till the scales opened at three.

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DONNY TESTA’S SALTY MARINE TEAM BAGS A 55.21, WINS HOGS BREATH TOURNAMENT!

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Key West, Florida -The Salty Marine team from Titusville, Florida checked out with the rest of the 127- boat field at seven am, pointed the 31-foot Contender with twin Yamaha 350’s to the west, and ran eighty miles before wetting a bait. By ten o’clock they had a 42 and a 52 in the boat fishing in eighty feet of water. “She hit a blue runner on the surface,” said Donny Testa, a Contender – Yamaha dealer from Titusville and team captain. “Stan Hall picked up the rod and within a few minutes Justin Burgreen sunk the gaff into her shoulder and pulled her in the boat. We knew she was a really good fish so we started the run back to the scales in three to five foot seas.”

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