Before the weigh-in for the second annual T.A. Mahoney Suncoast Kingfish Classic, Doyce Mathis of Treasure Island Charities was asked what it would take to win the tournament his organization was sponsoring.
"It'll take a 40-plus-pounder to win it," Mathis said.
Mathis wasn't too far off.
Team Native won the sanctioned Southern Kingfish Association tournament held out of Indian Rocks Beach with a 39.6-pound kingfish. Trolling the team's last bait on the way in, Evan Kerstein caught the winning king on a blue runner. Skipper Cawly Snibbe guided the team to its win, with Kevin Farner and Matt Tarrance rounding out the crew. The team won a 225-horsepower outboard engine and $5,000.
In the 23-foot and under class, team Bandit and Jeremy Bonnell took top honors with a 29.44-pound king. Taking second with a 29.12 king was team Fair Warning, with Ron Heideman, D.J. Ward and Tom Bruno, who lead the Division 6 SKA point standings. They have the National Championship on their minds.
"We're definitely going to Biloxi," Heideman said.
In the youth division, David Golightly Jr. won his first kingfish tournament with a 26.80-pounder. Golightly was fishing with his father, David Sr., Jim Weber and uncle, Jeff Golightly.
"We only had one bite all day," the 13-year-old said.
In the women's division, Kathie Stuart caught the winning 30.88-pound king. Stuart was fishing with team Mad Gaffer. Stuart Fitzgerald, Joel McKenney and Brad and Lora Lee made up the winning team. It was Stuart's first kingfish tournament win.
Rick Frazier runs Lucky Dawg Charters out of St. Petersburg and can be reached at 727 510-4376 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org