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The Tampa Bay Grady-White Club Kingfish Tournament Kicks Off Next Month

The Tampa Bay Grady-White Club has announced the dates for its spring 2021 kingfish and Spanish mackerel tournament. The 34th semi-annual, season-long event will be held from Saturday, March 13, through Sunday, May 16—that’s 65 days and 10 weekends.

The tournament is open to members of Cannons’ Grady-White Club. Although individual anglers do not have to be club members, eligible fish must be caught on a properly entered Grady-White boat with the club member owner/captain on board at the time of the catch.  No owner/captain can win more than one tournament prize. The tournament is held on an honor system; to be eligible, the fish must be caught by a single angler from hook-up to ready to gaff. It’s is a “length” tournament with the fish measured from the nose to the fork of the tail.

Categories are Largest Eligible King Mackerel (one per boat) and Largest Eligible Spanish Mackerel (one per boat). One hundred percent of the entry fees and cash donations will be returned to winners in cash. King mackerel will pay out approximately 80 percent of the total purse for first, second and third place, while Spanish mackerel will payout approximately 20 percent of the purse for first and second place only.  You may not win in both categories simultaneously.

The entry fee is $50 per Grady-White boat. Entry fees must be paid in cash or by check, mailed to the Tampa Bay Grady-White Club treasurer, Elisa Shannon, and postmarked no later than Friday, March 12.  Tampa Bay Grady-White Club members 2021 dues must also be current. Mail checks to  PO Box 4541, Midway, KY 40347-4541. Questions can be directed to tournament captains Paul Byrum (pbyrum3@gmail.com) or Paul Hargrett (paulhargett@gmail.com).

We can’t wait for the tournament to kick off next month. Until then, here are a few tips for catching king mackerel, courtesy of Sportfishing Magazine.

  1. Have the right boat. As you know, Grady-Whites make fantastic fishing boats! You can read all about them—and their patented SeaV2 hulls—here.
  2. Rig your boat properly. Sportfishing Magazine advises that rigging must accommodate a wide range of techniques, including ­downrigger-trolling, kite-fishing, slow-trolling, drifting or even anchoring. A high-quality GPS/chart-plotter and fish-finder are also important.
  3. Make sure to have lots of live bait and chum. Big baits equal big fish. Use silvery live baits like pilchards, threadfin herring, menhaden, mullet and blue runners instead of dead baits. And as for chum, many big-kingfish ­specialists add their own special ­ingredients to ground chum stock.
  4. Check sea surface temperatures. Do your research before the tournament: find temperature breaks and the that special “king green” water that just might be holding schools of bait and thus big kingfish—it could really pay off.
  5. Have fun! The Tampa Bay Grady-White Club tournament is always a great time, and we’re so proud of all of our Cannons Grady-White Club members who will be participating. Interested in joining the club? Call us at (941) 383-1311 today.