A 54.7-POUND KINGFISH WINS BIG IN KEY WEST

key westA 54.73-pound kingfish catch earned the Bimini Twist team top honors at the Key West Harbour King Mackerel Tournament that ended January 22.

Led by Capt. Grant Johnston of Clearwater, Florida, the team consisted of Johnston's father Doug Johnston and seven-year-old son Blake Johnston and uncle Jerry Stephenson.

Blake Johnston, who helped fight the winning kingfish with Stephenson, was named the tournament's top junior angler.

According to Grant Johnston, the team was about 30 miles west of Key West in approximately 80 feet of water when they caught the fish on a blue runner, but winning wasn't their primary motivation for entering the tournament. “We were just there to have fun — we're all family, and we all like to get together and fish together,” he said. “We knew we had a solid fish, but there was a strong chance that somebody could have something bigger.”

Second place honors went to team Get Snookerd with a 48.35-pound kingfish. Skippered by Capt. Chris Workman of Naples, Florida, the team consisted of Naples angler Kevin Weber, Dave Albritton of Fort Pierce, Florida, and Ken Dillingham of Big Pine Key, Florida.

The Reel Conch team, led by Capt. Randy Sterling Jr. of Key West, took third place with a 47.84-pound catch. Anglers included Randy Sterling Sr., who earned the top senior angler title.

The tournament also featured a division for anglers fishing in boats 23 feet or shorter. Still Kickin, guided by Capt. Chad Lammert of Fort Myers, Florida, won the division with a 44.32-pound king mackerel. Team member June Gutknecht of Fort Myers, the captain's wife, was named the tournament\'s top lady angler.

The two-day angling tournament, a sanctioned divisional tournament of the Southern Kingfish Association, attracted 75 boats.