Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Early Catch Is Tops; First-Day Leader Is a King Taken around 8 A.M

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Early Catch Is Tops; First-Day Leader Is a King Taken around 8 A.M

Article excerpt


Someone once said there's a difference between being cocky and being convinced.

Hang that one on the Jacksonville crew of Charter Lakes' 36-foot Invincible.

Captain Chad Branch's crew caught the big fish on the first day of the 28th annual AT&T Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament.

Their 47.70-pound king mackerel was among the first fish weighed Friday at Sisters Creek Marina and still held first place at day's end, after 298 other boats had brought in their catches.

Angler Otis Humphrey brought the fish to the scales and called the crew's fishing day "perfect." In addition to the big king, they caught an Atlantic sailfish and a 35-pound grouper.

Bottom-fishing during a kingfish tournament?

"Yeah," Humphrey said.

The crew caught the money fish around 8 a.m. and was so sufficiently "convinced" of its dominant size that it took time to do a little billfishing on the way in to the scales.

The fish hit the long center line early and broke off the leader within seconds, but it was congenial enough to come back for a blue runner pulled on top on the starboard line, Humphrey said.

For all practical purposes, the top of the leaderboard was packed within 20 minutes of the 2 p.m. weigh-in start.

Captain Jimmy Cissel was first to the scales with a 39.70-pound king. His El Grande might be the only boat in the tournament that still pulls redeyes - or vermillion snapper - for bait. Cissel calls it "old school," and it was a favorite method of catching big kings decades before folks thought of using pogies, ribbonfish or "imported" goggle-eyes.

Their fish held up for fourth place at the end of the day.

Cissel's reign lasted only minutes. Captain Lyle Rose on the Reel Warrior came right behind with a 42.40-pound king. It took a live goggle-eye out near the 21-bottom as the crew was setting its spread first thing Friday morning.

Rose's perch on top lasted less time than Cissel's. Captain Tim Kauffman on the Debaitable followed Rose to the scales and produced a fish that weighed just over an ounce more. Angler Kelly Gleason had put a fish weighing 42. …

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