Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kingfish Base Has All the Answers

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kingfish Base Has All the Answers

Article excerpt


On Channel 78, the designated VHF marine radio communications channel for this week's BellSouth Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament, there are no stupid questions.

Some, though . . .

"You name it, we've heard it," said Jim Rosenberger, who heads Kingfish Base -- the communications center -- for the GJKT. "People ask how you can be so patient when you have people asking the same question over and over. But we're here to answer their questions."

This week, Channel 78 will provide anglers with hourly weather reports and official tournament pronouncements such as when fishing begins and ends. Rosenberger and his four-person crew also will field a steady stream of questions from on-the-water captains.

The most popular question during the tournament: "What's the heaviest fish?"

Kingfish Base, headquartered at the tournament site at Sisters Creek Marina, includes a Raymarine color radar and GPS chart plotter as part of its electronics array. Using the equipment, Rosenberger will be able to relay information about approaching storms to boats in the tournament.

"The hourly weather is something they look forward to," he said. "We're not weathermen, but we can tell them what we see.

"We do our best to get as much of that information as we can to the captains."

With typically 800 or more boats on the water during the GJKT, Channel 78 is heavily trafficked. Inevitably, there has been some abuse of the community channel.

A couple of years ago, many GJKT captains complained of the profane language and inane chatter going out over the air. Channel 78 began to sound something like a shock-jock talk show.

"It was bad," said Bob Brindle, tournament director of this year's GJKT. "Last year, it was a lot better u almost no profanity."

"I think one big offender was land-based," Rosenberger said. …

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