KEY WEST, Florida Keys - A 67.66-pound catch characterized as "the fish of a lifetime" earned the Triple J team top honors in the Key West Harbour King Mackerel Tournament that ended Jan. 23.
Teammates P.J. Myers, Jack Conroy and Keith Mangus of Winter Haven, Fla., were fishing off Cosgrove Shoal about 30 miles southwest of Key West, guided by Captain Stephen Cooper of Marco Island, Fla., when they scored the massive kingfish by 9 a.m. on the tournament's final day.
"We used a blue runner on a downrigger, and it took about 25 minutes to get her in the boat," said Myers, who stressed the team effort leading to the victory. "It was the fish of a lifetime."
According to Lee Murray, veteran organizer of the Key West kingfish challenge, the catch is a tournament record.
In second place with a 60.70-pound kingfish was the Native Premonitions team led by Leon Wilcox of Davie, Fla. The team also consisted of Jimmie Stecki and Allen McPherson.
The team on Home Run took third place with a 54.31-pound fish, but team members had three additional triumphs to celebrate. Ron Maroney and Kathi Maroney were named top senior and top lady angler, respectively, while Mason Maroney took top honors in the junior angler division for competitors under age 16. Hailing from Brunswick, Ga., the team also included Bradley Maroney.
The tournament featured a division for anglers fishing in boats 23 feet or shorter, as well. Its winner was the team aboard Strictly Fishing, skippered by Captain Peter Weisberg of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with a 37.97-pound fish.
The two-day angling challenge, a sanctioned divisional tournament of the Southern Kingfish Association, attracted 64 boats.