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2013 Team of the Year

Kwazar Wins 2013 SKA Professional Kingfish Tour Team of the Year Title!

Marcus Kennedy, Mike Ward, Brett Rutledge, Max Williams, Robert Young, and Tyler Kennedy will go into the SKA record book for winning the 2013 Professional Kingfish Tour Team of the Year honors. Kennedy’s team, based in Mobile, Alabama, earned 800 total points through their best five days on the water and led the field by 20 points over second place Penny-Less from South Florida going into the Yamaha Pro Tour Championship event in Biloxi.

The team earned 170 points at the Kajun Sportsman’s first day and added another 150 points on day two at their season opener in June. Then they moved to the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo in July and added 110 points for day one and 180 points for day two. Plus they still fished for the coveted Master Angler award in the largest saltwater tournament in the world and achieved that honor. More than 3,100 anglers competed for this honor.

In the West Delta event in Venice, Louisiana they added another 20 points for day one.

They then fished the Gorenflo’s event in Biloxi and picked up another 20 points and finished the Division earning 130 points at the Kajun King Classic. They ended their Division 7 run with 780 points.

Marcus and the team went to the final event in Division 6—Gator’s Fall. He fished this event last year and had added Arik Bergerman to the team there and did very well. An outcry came from the locals thinking that Arik was why the Kwazar team did so well. While Arik is an extremely talented fisherman himself, it wasn’t the case. Marcus has lots of numbers from the area when he used to fish the Arthur Smith events plus a few Division 6 events, winning one of those many years ago. So back he came this year, had no locals on board, and the team persevered winning second place and of course another 170 points.

The team now had a first place, five fish aggregate of 800 points to carry into the Championship event where they added 380 more points to win the Team of the Year title with 1,180 points, 280 points ahead of second place.

Now, before Marcus jumps all over me, let’s give credit where credit is due. First, Marcus is a superb angler with many, many titles. But all of the members on the team, including Marcus’ son Tyler, are accomplished fishermen on their own. They make up the perfect team. They’ve worked together for many years and actually complement one another.

I truly believe that they can still win more titles! I should also add that Marcus and the team did not win the actual Yamaha Championship event in Biloxi, Bad Company did. But they only lost that title by .13 of a pound. They are the overall Team of the Year and three of the team members, Max Williams, Mike Ward, and Robert Young were our Top Senior Anglers overall for the Pros.

I don’t think that any Pro fisherman would disagree with my assessment of this team. They are the Champions and we salute them!

Intense won second place honors this year after carrying the number one honor all year thanks to their 2012 Team of the Year win.

Most people who don’t compete in the Upper Gulf understand the rivalry between Neal Foster and Marcus Kennedy. They are great friends off the water but when it’s time to tournament fish, they are bitter rivals. I truly believe that this rivalry is what drives both teams. Remember, rivalry in any sport heightens competitive spirits.

Foster, Mark Collier, Brian Keevan, and Jason Hebert started the season at the Kajun Sportsman in Fourchon, Louisiana where they earned 150 points on day one and added 170 points on day two. The exact same score Kwazar had. But then Foster’s team had three 20-point days.

In the West Delta event on day two they picked up 170 points. At Gorenflo’s they took another 20 points for fishing the event. At the other Kajun event in Orange Beach they found another 150 points. They carried 660 points into the Championship 140 points behind Kwazar. They still were in a position to make up the deficit but then tragedy struck. Neal had a very serious accident breaking his shoulder pushing bone thru skin. I won’t go into details, but it was extremely serious enough to give a big advantage to Kennedy’s team. Still the Intense team earned 240 more points fishing in the Championship event.

I still don’t know how he endured the pain but he had the support of his great team and they never quit. I would have been sitting on the hill. The Intense team settled for second place overall in the Pro series this year with 900 points. Congratulations to this great team and their efforts for second place honors. I can’t wait to see how next year’s rivalry shapes up! You better have your game face on if you expect to win!

The Under Armour/Caliente team of Arik Bergerman, Eric Sidor, Jeff Houser, Joe Medolla, Glenn Carr, and Randy Keys from Florida’s west coast, had a good season earning third. They had 620 points. They had four good point events, Key West on day one for 140 points, the Gator’s spring event for 170 more points. Their other two days were Fort Myers where they added 130 more points, and finally 160 points at the Kajun event’s day one. They carried 620 points into the Championship where they added another 260 points for 880 total points. That one event where they scored 20 points for fishing an event cost them second place. I know, anything but first is not a win but the point is, in this sport every point counts.

There are a lot of distractions in Division 6, where this team shines, but I know that this team deserves being in the top five in the country. From that point it’s anyone’s battle. If Caliente scores big in Key West this year, they will be in a good position to earn the top spot. I wouldn’t bet against them!

Penny-Less had a good season, earning 780 points, carrying them into the Championship. They had a great season in Division 10 where the competition is truly fierce. But then they couldn’t make the Pro Championship work earning only 45 points. Remember they won the National Championship last year with Foster winning the Yamaha Pro Championship. I know that no team can win every event they enter but if there’s one team this could apply to, it’s them.

Mike Wood, David Linsinbigler, Alex Burgess, and James Wood are held in the highest regards in Division 10 and had everyone talking about them after last year’s National Championship win. They need to go to the Upper Gulf during the regular season next year just to help them master Gulf fishing.

Ron Mitchell has two Angler of the Year titles and everyone thinks he and his Bandit team should be good for a couple more titles. I agree. Ron spun a hub and had to come in but did not get it fixed. He and his team still earned fifth overall and remember he only garnered 40 points for just entering the Championship and still ended fifth. They ended with 810 points only 90 out of second. Could they have won it all? Probably not this year. It was Kennedy’s year!

The Get Layed team of Fred Watkin’s Jr., Ken Jansen, William Todd Gardner, Sherman Butch Smith, and Kayla Williamson earned sixth place with 800 total points. They have the smallest boat in the Pro Tour but had the highest three-fish aggregate in Division 7 this year. They ended with 800 points and had a 60-pound king to their credit this year. They made a mistake by going to the spot which held fish all year for them on day one but came up empty. They re-adjusted on day two and picked up 80 points.

Seventh place went to Billy Wummer’s Spiced Rum III team of Billy, Don Lamb, Sherri and Wayne Beswick, Freddie Joseph, Howard Tuman, and Tony Joseph. They earned points in every event they fished this season. The Yamaha powered Contender team earned 790 points.

Our Texas team, Papotanic, with Jose Reyes, Bill Platt, Ozzie Fischer, Marc Bledsoe, and Mark Nagelmueller earned 720 points good for eighth place.

Before we go any farther, let’s look at the overall points. Kwazar had a remarkable season winning with 1,180 points. They really ran away with it! But second had 900, third was 880,  fourth 825, fifth 810, sixth 800, seventh 790, then it goes down to 720 for eighth. Sound fair? A close race? You bet! So before we go any farther let’s make it perfectly clear. Bracewell, Wiggins, and Henderson deserves a lot of credit for fine tuning the Tour. The scores speak for themselves.

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