Tournament insider

Published November 5, 2006

A reel winner: Reel Crazy, with Robert Vaughan of Treasure Island as captain, caught a 48.56-pound king mackerel and won the Gators Kingfish Tournament on Saturday at Gators on the Pass on Treasure Island. Top prize was $10,000. The captain fished with Mark Vaughan, Kamri Vaughan and Matt Simanteris.

The right spot: The team targeted hard bottom structure in 20 feet of water off St. Petersburg Beach.

"We were on a spot that we felt was good for us," Robert Vaughan said. "We caught a good fish on this same place in a tournament last fall."

Big bait, big fish: The top king hit a 22-inch ladyfish rigged with multiple stinger hooks on the port flat line about 3 p.m. The team had caught its bait Friday near Blind Pass. Robert Vaughan fought the fish, and Mark Vaughan gaffed it 20 minutes later. Robert Vaughan praised Simanteris for his efficiency at the helm.

"Matt did an excellent job running the boat," the captain said. "He stuck with us when the fish was running and backed off when the fish slowed down. He kept us on top of the fish so we could get it in the boat."

Patience the key: Reel Crazy had two strikes around midmorning, but the lines remained silent until the winning fish ate its last meal. The captain said his team was fishing with a mix of ladyfish and blue runners. Team members had recently switched one of the runners for a big ladyfish when a kingfish swirled behind that bait. A short time later, their big fish struck.

How others fared: Jack Penny's Penny Wise took second and won the youth division with a 45.52-pound kingfish. Charlton Weldon of Horizon Haze was third with 39.44, Ron Kein's Team Wiseguy was fourth with 35.92, and Jay Mastry of Jaybird finished fifth with 35.84. Reel Crazy won the women's division as well. David A. Brown covers area fishing tournaments and can be reached at tightlinecomm@aol.com.