Despite a brutal rain storm on Friday afternoon at the Captains’ Party that destroyed five tents, loyal anglers came to the party and registered for the 18th Annual Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association Kingfish Tournament.
The Captains’ Party and registration brought in 141 boats to register for the big tournament on Saturday.
“We were all hunkering down when the storm came through on Friday afternoon, and it was scary for a while,” said Ron Childs, tournament director. “After it quit raining and blowing, volunteers moved the torn up tents, wiped off the chairs and tables, and we kept on going.
“The food was great and we got everybody registered for the tournament.”
A big 31.92 pound king mackerel was the winner in the recreational division on the boat Bluewater Predator with Michael Lodge acting as the Captain.
The winning fish in the professional division was caught by Jud Alexander on the boat Congo. The fish weighed 38.85 pounds.
The second-place fish in the recreational division was caught by Bill Connally on the boat Reel Natural. The fish weighed in at 31.87 pounds. Third place went to Stephen Price on the Cape Horn at 30.03 pounds.
The winning Wahoo was caught by Finley Cook on the boat Garfin and it weighed 25.07 pounds. The winning Spanish mackerel was caught by Bill May on the boat Contender Bay. It weighed 4.12 pounds.
Bob Cox, President of the MBARA, said, “This is our biggest fund raiser and we really appreciate all of our anglers, sponsors, and Corporate Friends that helped make all of this happen.”
Since l997 the MBARA has built approximately 1.4 million dollars’ worth of artificial reefs and has plans to keep working hard to build marine habitats off of Mexico Beach, Port St. Joe, and Panama City. All reef coordinates are listed on their website at www.mbara.org along with underwater videos of reefs and research reports on each reef.