tampabay.com

Daily fishing report

By DAVID A. BROWN
Published November 12, 2006


The winner: Eric Gyurkovic of Pinellas Park caught a kingfish weighing 41.66 pounds Saturday to win the 13th Annual Old Salt Fall King of the Beach in Madeira Beach. Top prize was $10,000.

The spot: Fishing aboard his 23-foot center console Outer Limits, Gyurkovic trolled live blue runners in 45 feet over the Betty Rose wreck off St. Pete Beach. He caught his bait Friday on the nearby South County Reef.

"I won't fish the South County Reef because there are too many barracudas and mackerel," he said. "But we did some driving around and saw some fish caught in the area so we figured the Betty Rose was a good place to go."

Game on: The winner hit a live blue runner around noon, amazing Gyurkovic with its choice of meals.

"That king hit a miserable little blue runner about as big as your palm," he said. "I don't even know why we had that one out because we had some monster baits in the spread. You just never know which one they're going to hit."

The chase: Travis Andrews of New Port Richey fought the fish and Gyurkovic gaffed it after a classic kingfish footrace.

"His initial run was nonstop smoking and he nearly emptied the reel," Gyurkovic said. "We had to run after him with the downriggers in the water. We didn't even have time to pull them in."

Fortune smiles: A foul-hooked fish is always tough to handle, but when a 45-pound smoker breaks an angler's rig, it's usually game over.

"The stinger hook was busted off and hanging on one side of the fish and the lead hook was stuck in the fish's dorsal fin on the opposite side," Gyurkovic said. "That's how we caught that fish.

"It took us about a half an hour to get him in, but the fight ended rather uneventful. When he came up, I was able to stick him clean on the fist (gaff) shot."

How others fared: Ross Pilarco of the ZaZa was second with 39.26 pounds and Corey Alley of the Laugerhead finished third with 38.72. Danny Clark of the Constant Chaos won the single engine division with 31 pounds. Katie Carr topped the women's division aboard the Jaybird with a 24.86-pound king and Stephen Dellane of the Pennywise won the youth division (26.32). The tournament fielded 316 boats and weighed 170 kingfish.

David A. Brown covers area fishing tournaments and can be reached at tightlinecomm@aol.com.