Two kingfish totaling 84.4 pounds earned the Pro Marine team top honors in the pro division of the Key West Kingfish Mayhem Tournament that ended Jan. 14. The team, led by Captain Jim Naset and headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, consisted of Kevin Hannon, Rick Cook and Nick Reddy – all from the St. Petersburg area.
Hannon caught a 47.8-pound kingfish on the tournament’s first fishing day and a 36.6 pounder on the second. According to Naset, the team was approximately 75 miles west of Key West and south of Fort Jefferson, trolling with bluefish, when the catches were boated.
“On Day One we were very confident, based on the overall bite, that we had a top five fish – a money fish,” said Naset. “But there were guys who could beat us. You’re always hoping, but you’re sweating it in the weigh-in line.”
Tournament rules mandate that teams in the pro division can weigh one fish for points on each fishing day or two on the first day, with standings determined by the combined weight. By the close of the second day’s weigh-in, Pro Marine’s two-fish total of 84.4 pounds had clinched the win.
Unlike the pro division, open-division teams are only allowed to weigh in fish on the second day and the team with the single heaviest kingfish earns the first-place title.
The winner in the open division was LinedOut with a 51-pound catch. Skippered by Captain Mitch Mosley, the team consisted of Sandy Royster and Lawrence Spellmeyer. All three hail from Alabama’s Mobile area.
Mosley said the team was about 60 miles northwest of Key West, slow trolling with blue runners, when Royster caught the winning fish.
“We went to a spot first thing in the morning, caught a few small fish, moved over to another spot and caught the fish right off the bat,” said Mosley. It didn’t make a long run – maybe ran 100 yards at the most.”
In addition to taking the open-division title, the LinedOut team also competed in the pro division and therefore also fished on the tournament’s first day. Tallying a 30.3-pound catch on that day, the team placed third in the pro division.
Top junior angler was 16-year-old A.J. Anderson of Glenville, Georgia, whose 39.5-pound catch earned the win. He fished with Captain Casey Hunt of Key West on the Get Bent.
According to organizers, the tournament attracted 39 registered boat teams in the pro division and 46 in the open division.