By LARRY BLUE
© St. Petersburg Times
published May 19, 2002
The threat of an approaching storm front might have kept most anglers off the water Saturday. But John Archer and Kathy Douglas braved the rough conditions to try to catch a Spanish mackerel big enough to win the Billy's Stonecrab Restaurant Big Mack Attack. The two were outside of Egmont Key, where Douglas caught the biggest of their six Spanish mackerel, 4.9 pounds, more than enough to win the tournament. They also came in with a 23.5-pound king mackerel that took a bait intended for a Spanish mackerel.
Archer credited his success with the quality of the bait he found near one Tampa Bay range marker. "In one throw I got about 5 gallons of whitebait," Archer said. The abundance helped keep a steady flow of fresh chopped chum to attract big fish.
Dave Metheney and Jeanie Gifford decided fishing the Sunshine Skyway might be better than where they intended to go. Their plan was to head offshore to deep water but sea conditions did not allow them to take their 21-foot boat there. Content to fish under the cover of the bridge, Gifford managed to land about 30 mackerel, including a 3.3-pound Spanish she caught tossing a bucktail jig. This fish was good for second place.
The poor weather forecast led to a lack of attendance and the tournament only paid two places. There was a 100 percent payout to the anglers.
-- To report tournament information contact Capt. Larry Blue at (727) 397-3773, or e-mail at