A team of teenagers bested a crowd of veteran kingfish teams this weekend in the Ancient City Game Fish Association’s Kingfish Challenge centered at Camachee Cove. Four Reel may be a young team, but it is a seasoned kingfish tournament team.
The youths had a 52-pounder in the Kingfish Shootout last year, and regularly fish the Kingbuster 400 and the Greater Jacksonville tournaments.
Hayden Englert, 19; Michael Syrakas, 16; Jack Richardson, 16; Cade Macri, 18; Hansen Englert, 12; and Harrison Englert, 16; work in the summer to earn money to pay for fuel, ice, tackle and tournament entry fees. They grew up fishing together.
As any experienced team would, the young men headed out again on Sunday in search of a larger fish to better their score. Captain Hayden Englert pointed the bow of the 36-foot Yellowfin boat powered by three 250-hp Yamaha motors back to the same spot where they caught the mossy backs on Saturday. They hooked a king that might have given them a pound or two more, but before Hayden could fight the fish to within gaffing distance, a shark bit it in half.
The team decided to leave the crowd and try another spot. A bigger fish wasn’t in the cards, but it didn’t matter. Four Reel’s day one, two-fish aggregate weight of 79.82 pounds was still on top of the leaderboard when the weighmaster declared the scales closed.
Four Reel collected a check for $10,000 at the awards ceremony. His teammates said Harrison was the talkative one, but he was speechless. Cade said he was in shock.
All were smiling from ear to ear and looking forward to next week’s Kingfish Shootout and then the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament scheduled for July 18-23.
Four Reel will be a team to keep an eye on.
Just before the scales opened at 2 p.m., Barbara Adcox hauled what looked to be an extremely heavy fish bag to the weigh-in tent.
The small crowd closed in near the stage as the big fish was revealed, anticipating a fish that could upset the leaderboard. But it wasn’t a kingfish. When the scales settled, the wahoo registered 86.18 pounds.
Barbara and John Adcox fish together on the Barbara Ann. They were about 40 miles offshore when the wahoo hit a ribbonfish on the downrigger set to 60 feet. It took about 45 minutes to get the big girl to the boat with John and Barbara sharing the rod spooled with 25-pound test. They had a 76-pounder in a Louisiana tournament, but this is their biggest wahoo to date.
Beau Parks, Kevin Snyder and Lyle Rose had a 40.42 and an 18.52 on Saturday for a 58.94-pound aggregate. The Sugar Daddy team stayed in the money at fifth place.
Parks said finding bait was easy and they hooked up to several kings. The big fish hit a blue runner on top about 9:30 a.m. and Rose fought the fish to the boat.
“It was two hard runs and it went out and died. It made it easy,” Parks said.
The Kingfish Challenge leaderboard did not change on Sunday in spite of each team’s efforts to add some weight to the scores.
The top eight anglers from Saturday’s competition improved their scores on Sunday. Only Scotty Motes held the same position on the leaderboard after all the redfish had been weighed — first place. He improved his score from 13.50 on Saturday to a final aggregate of 15.05 pounds.
The first-place prize was a boat, motor and trailer package valued at $6,000.
Jesse Blasingame moved up the board to second place with a final aggregate of 14.90 pounds.
Kaylee Hicks didn’t make the board on Saturday, but roared back on Sunday to knock some anglers down a notch. Her 14.05 aggregate was good enough for third place.
Keith McBride bettered his score by a half pound and took fourth place.
Jim Price slipped a spot to fifth place, but still finished in the money with a respectable 13.05-pound aggregate. That’s just two pounds off the first-place weight.
Alison Colvin and Cindy Dillard were not on the board Saturday, but fished hard to finish sixth and seventh respectively. Colvin had a 12.60 and Dillard had a 12.50 aggregate.
Lisa Brown improved her aggregate by a quarter pound, but still slipped to eighth place with a final aggregate of 12.20 pounds.
David Killgore’s 11.90 aggregate earned ninth place.
Rick Mackey rounded out the top 10 with an 11.90 aggregate. Yes, Killgore and Mackey have the same weight, but Killgore weighed his fish earlier and takes the higher place on the leaderboard.
While final scores were tallied and verified, the crowd listened to music by the Paper City Band and enjoyed the refreshments on site. Another edition of the Ancient City kingfish and redfish events are in the record books. Anglers have 12 months to hone their fishing skills to come back and compete next year.
1. Four Reel 79.82
2. Rebecca Ann 70.29
3. Seafood Kitchen 63.06
4. Reel Quick 62.35
5. Sugar Daddy 58.94
6. Total Chaos 58.64
7. Bam Bam 58.45
8. Double K 58.40
9. Vengeance 56.45
10. Flashy 54.48
1. Scotty Motes 15.05
2. Jesse Blasingame 14.90
3. Kaylee Hicks 14.05
4. Keith McBride 13.30
5. Jim Price 13.05
6. Alison Colvin 12.60
7. Cindy Dillard 12.50
8. Lisa Brown 12.20
9. David Kilgore 11.90
10. Rick Mackey 11.90