Petersburg Daily fishing report – Steve Papen and Corey Alley of Tarpon Springs won $1,200 in the Billy’s StoneCrab Thanksgiving Shootout with a first-place 28.1-pound kingfish caught on the Lagerhead Saturday and weighed at Tierra Verde.
Alley, who reeled in the fish, said he and Papen fished 40 miles west of Venice over 4- to 6-foot ledges in 130 feet. The area was holding lots of bonito, which were feeding on large schools of juvenile sardines. Alley said the activity probably attracted kingfish.
Traditional king baits were hard to locate, so the winners rigged live mullet with 2/0 nose hooks and double stinger segments comprised of No.5 wire and No.2 treble hooks. They fished with 7-foot live-bait rods, conventional reels, 20-pound line and No.3 leader wire.
Alley and Papen caught two other kings of 26 and 20 pounds. Their biggest fish hit at 1:30.
“The fish was foul-hooked, so we thought he was bigger at first,” Alley said. “He screamed off about 200 yards, and then he just started doing circles below the boat. It took us about 30 minutes to get him in.”
Ron Riecken of Evansville, Ind., fished with tournament founder Billy Moore of Tierra Verde and won the Spanish mackerel division with a 2.2-pounder. Riecken caught his fish on a No.5 spoon trolled behind a No.1 planer in about 27 feet south of the Egmont Channel whistle buoy.
Geoffrey Everheart took second place in the kingfish division, 24.6 pounds. Ed Stone was third, 12.3. Riecken entered the event’s only Spanish mackerel.
–David A. Brown covers area fishing tournaments and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
By DAVID A. BROWN