The 22nd edition of the Mexico Beach Artificial Reef Association’s Kingfish Tournament turned out to be a whopper.
The largest fish ever weighed-in in the history of the annual tournament was brought to the scales last Saturday.
Darryl Carpenter and his team on the Second Chance brought in a Wahoo weighing 97.88 pounds.
“That was the largest fish we’ve had in 22 tournaments and it brought the house down,” said tournament director Ron Childs. “It was a real crowd-pleaser. There were all kinds of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs.’”
More than 100 fish were weighed during the four hours of weigh-ins, with 45 recorded for competition.
“In 15 years we have never had one-foot seas,” Childs said, noting inclement weather has often been a tournament visitor. “This year we had one-foot seas; it was perfect for boating and fishing.”
The weather for Friday’s captain’s party was also perfect, with attendance at Veterans Memorial Park at Beacon Hill exceeding 1,000, Childs said.
“We probably had the best tournament we’ve had in 15 years, weather-wise,” Childs said.
There was also a medical emergency which caused a bit of excitement.
A Wahoo caught by Team Green Banana seriously injured Scott Urquhart in the leg as it was brought onto the boat.
Wahoos have sharp teeth and have a poison in their mouth which prevents blood from coagulating.
“He was in serious trouble,” Childs said.
Anglers on the boat administered first aid and Urquhart was transported to a local hospital via Coast Guard helicopter.
Urquhart was treated and released and returned to the weigh-in in time for photos.
“He came back and he was fine, but it was scary,” Childs said.
The Kingfish Tournament is the largest fundraiser each year for MBARA, a non-profit organization that builds artificial reefs in the Gulf of Mexico.
“Our volunteers really showed up,” Childs said. “We can’t do without them. We are an all-volunteer group.
“We want to say a big thank you to our volunteers and all our sponsors.”
In addition to raising funds for artificial reefs, fishermen were encouraged to donate their mackerel.
Under a special permit with Florida FWC, and cooperation from Water Street Seafood, proceeds from the donated mackerel will benefit Franklin’s Promise Coalition.
Among other community services, Franklin’s Promise has been essential in helping dozens of families impacted by the Lime rock Fire in Eastpoint in June of this year.
1st Place Kingfish, 37.24 pounds
Boat: Royal Flush
Captain: Todd Krause
2nd Place Kingfish, 36.87 pounds
Captain: Tuan Nguyen
3rd Place Kingfish, 14.55 pounds (slot target was 14.61 pounds)
Boat: Livin’ 4 Reel
Captain: Kris Rosendahl
Wahoo, 97.88 pounds
Boat: Second Chance
Captain: Darryl Carpenter
Spanish Mackerel, 4.17 pounds
Boat: Flippin Out
Captain: Jackson Krause
Professional Kingfish, 47.37 pounds
Boat: Green Banana
Captain: Josh Bloodworth