Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kings Are Made as Kingfish Are Caught

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Kings Are Made as Kingfish Are Caught

Article excerpt

Byline: W. D. Rodeffer

All season I have talked about the ups and down of tournament fishing. August was a prime example for one of the anglers I've covered this year, Bear Croft, who experienced one of the all-time lows and the next tournament one of the all-time highs.

This month brought to a close all of the local kingfish tournaments. Division 4 for the Southern Kingfish Association came to a close and the fourth pro tournament took place in Savannah, Ga.

GOLDEN ISLE KINGFISH CLASSIC

From Aug. 3 to 5, Brunswick, Ga., hosted the Golden Isle Kingfish Classic. This tournament brought to a close the Georgia division, where six boats had a real chance for the prestigious overall win. The lead had changed hands every tournament and it would really come down to the last day to decide a winner. After first place in the division, all that really matters is staying in the Top 20 to get a invitation to nationals. First place is the only free invitation as well as a great honor and bragging rights.

Bear was in the best position to move into the lead with a decent fish. Pete Owens would carry the lead into the first day of fishing. However, it was Todd Veal's team that would reclaim the lead after a 36-pound fish on the first day. Bear, Pete and our team failed to catch a fish that would improve our position. A 44-pound fish led the tournament, so a tournament victory became our second goal.

Our plan to start inshore then move offshore after the morning bite worked great - up until the catching a good fish part. Although Todd had caught a good fish, we only needed a 31-pounder to take the lead, Bear needed a 30-pounder and Pete would need the same. All of the lead boats stayed in touch through radio and satellite phones. It looked like Todd had it wrapped up until Bear made a move at lunchtime. His move paid off with a 32-pound fish. With plenty of time, he pointed his boat west, back to "The Hill."

It wasn't until later that night when I finally answered my phone that I heard the news. The black cloud had found Bear again. With a flat ocean and time on their side, a nice stroll back to Brunswick was thrown off course by a blown lower unit. Catching a good fish is always the hardest part. However, the anxiety changes to fear of this situation as soon as the fish goes into the ice bag. Boat troubles go hand and hand with owning a boat. This, however, is the worst time.

Bear's fish probably wasn't good enough to place but it was enough, even on Sunday, to win the division. This is what Bear would discover over at our friend Joe Bruce's house when they weighed the fish that didn't make it the next day. Our team, however, entered the tournament in fourth place, but by Saturday night, we had finished sixth. Five hundredths of a pound would separate fourth through sixth place. …

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