Fall 2016 I fished in the Suncoast kingfish Classic out of Treasure Island Florida, with the DonRayGear Fishing team. Taking the title was no easy task, But Capt. Kyle Nifong had us dialed in! We ran over 60 miles offshore, 120 miles round trip. The Seas were rough it was calling for 4ft-ers in the AM when we woke, and by take off at 6am the rough seas had peaked to 6ft-ers. Extremely rough waters to make the morning run! But we knew we had to stick it out. I remember taking water over the bow on the run out. with the throttles wide open on the way out for the entire 60miles we were able to get to the fish first! Needless to say fishing conditions were no cake walk that day! But we followed and executed the plan accordingly, we got on the spot first thing in the morning and had baits in the water right away before the sun had peaked fully over the hiorizion! 5minutes later we had our first bite, and a 20 lb King mackerel in the boat! We knew this was no tournament winner though. We re-baited and re-positioned, made another troll… and sure enough drag went ripping!! Chaos broke lose! We knew we had a potential game changer on the line, thats when we settled down and started to move as a unit to get this fish in the boat at all costs! We took our time landing this fish, we absolutely did not want to pull a hook, or break this fish off, with tournament winnings on the line, we knew it was a Biggin!
20 minutes later we had cleared all the Lines, and had the winning fish boat side, Co-captain Taylor Nifong had the gaff ready, stuck the fish and flipped it over the gunnel!
Ill never forget watching that gaff shot, Its like everything was moving in slow motion, watching that fish slap the deck was like watching a movie!! It was pretty epic to say the least!
We weren’t sure weather this fish would win or not, so we kept fishing til it was time to run back in, accumulating a few more bites in the meantime. When we headed back, the run in was even rougher than the ride out! haha can you imagine! let me paint a picture, we started taking water over the bow and entire T-top of the 36ft Yellowfin the whole ride back!
But when we finally hung the fish on the scale and topped the leader board the feeling was like none other, I remember the chills that ran through my body when they announced the team over the P.A., it was a special feeling! Pretty sweet feeling when a plan comes together! It was a great team victory and we worked hard to get it done in rough sea’s!
You can watch the video here on one of media channels-link Suncoast Classic Win Video!