The signs of a truly phenomenal kingfish run could be seen at Saturday's Suncoast Kingfish Classic on Indian Rocks Beach. Many fished the shallows of the gulf beaches because of heavy winds and strong swells. Sixty-one kings were brought to the scales at the Holiday Inn Harbourside, with a 42.16-pound fish taking top honors.
Kingfish tournament veterans John Smith, John Smith Jr. and Todd Ferguson made up the winning team Et-Tu-Brute. It added points to its SKA standings and won a 225-horsepower Mercury outboard engine and $7,000.
"Our fish was caught early in the morning, about 10 miles offshore. It took a big blue runner," said Smith Sr., a 25-year Tampa Bay resident. "It was a tournament fight, you know, we just got him in the boat as fast as we could. The more time that fish spends in the water, the more likely he is to break off."
Surreal and Mutual Fun rounded out the top three in the men's division. Surreal brought in a 40.4-pounder to top Mutual Fun's 36.88. The 3.52 difference was the largest between top-15 finishers.
The top two kings in the women's division were separated by 1.2 pounds. First place went to Lunch Money, which brought in a 29.92-pound king. Second went to the Tampa Bay veteran angler Vanessa Slade aboard Slade 'Em. She caught a 28.72-pounder. Mother Ocean and its 24.64-pound king were third.
Danny's Dream won the youth division with a 23.84-pound king. Close behind were teams Maxamillion and Mayhem, which caught 22.16- and 18.32-pound fish, respectively.