Salt E News

The 2016 Fall King Was A Little Different This Year

They entered the tournament, paid the fees, fished, weighed, partied (a little) and walked across the stage to receive their just rewards. Similar as it all was, this years King was indeed different.

Not Just A King But, A Queen As Well

We would be utterly remiss if we didn’t acknowledge the special nature of this years winning team in the Overall Division. Crowned “The King” our winners thiskinandqueen year, Kyle & Jenny Applefield – Team Loaded Down (Loaded Down Sportfishing) are a two person, husband and wife, fishing team.

After a ragged start to the day (someone kyped their bait), a full day of fishing in a single engine craft in sketchy weather and standing in the weigh-in line behind every other team, …. when their King Mackerel was placed on the scale the whole tournament field erupted at the result. The husband-wife team weighed a 44.7 lb King Mackerel winner taking the crown and a total of $70,780 in winnings. The Applefields are a perfect representation of the anglers Old Salt engages with and aspires to effectively represent. Good folks! Congratulations.

A New Partnership, Driving The King To New Heights

The Old Salt King of the Beach has gained a bit notoriety outside of our regional area. Anglers from as far away as Texas, the Florida Panhandle, Georgia & the Carolinas and beyond are expressing greater interest in fishing the King. We’re on the map, in at least a small way, it seems.

To further our efforts, to reach and attract fishing teams from across the S.E. United States, Old Salt Fishing Foundation has partnered with Visit St. Petersburg Clearwater (Pinellas County Convention & Visitors Bureau). VSPC’s mission is to attract new visitors to our area, building and sustaining thevspc-title tourism market. Old Salt has the objective to grow the number of travel teams that fish our tournaments. The affinity between our organizations is obvious.

VSPC stepped in as the Title Sponsor for the 2016 Fall King of the Beach bringing a wealth of talent & resources to bear on our behalf. VSPC helped us reach anglers in “out of area” markets while Old Salt introduced our partner to tens of thousands of of the same. A true win-win.

Old Salt and VSPC are slated to work together in 2017 on the Baddest BBQ on the Bone Fishing Slam and we expect the partnership to grow, encompassing additional opportunities in the future. Thank you VSPC.

Darcizzle Fishes The King

Old Salt works with, and is sustained in no small part by, our Lady Anglers. Darcie Arahill or Darcizzle as she is know to hundreds of thousands of YouTube, Facebook and Instagram users is a lady angler who has taken the industry by storm through grit, determination, skills, bikinis and a crack video productiondarcie-1 team (Brian). Darcie posts lifestyle & educational fishing videos & pics all across social media, sometimes daily and at least 3 times every week.

Darcie fished the King with Captain James Lowe, Lowe Tide Charters & Team Central Marine (they weighed & placed with in the Spanish Mackerel Division… see here ) and she also had the opportunity to spend a day fishing the waters of Tampa Bay with Captain Ryan Harrington of Reel Estate Charters.

We had a ton of fun with Darcie and Brian, they brought a real spark to the tournament and we encourage you to check her stuff out on social media. With a little luck and planning we will see them both back in the Spring…..

The 2016 Fall King is in the books. Old Salt is closing out 2016 and readying ourselves for a busy and fish filled 2017. We appreciate all of you who volunteer, fish the tournaments, donate to our programs and generally work to keep our mission alive. Have a wonderful holiday season, merry Christmas and happy New Year. See you in the Spring

Old Salt Fishing Foundation

King of the Beach

Kingfish Tournament

Spring 2017

Visit The Tournament Pages

Dates: April 27th, 28th & 29th, 2017
Location: Madeira Beach, Florida (map)
Entry: Pre-Registration: $195 (Members) $235 (Non Members)
Species: King Mackerel and Spanish Mackerel
Payout: $50K 1st Place Overall – 50 ways to win – 5 Divisions
TWT’s: Standard & High Roller
Captains Meeting: 6:30pm April 27th
Additional Info: Email Tournament Director

Get it While You Can

jesse-mayerOffshore: November to me is the most productive and opportunistic time of year to catch a variety of species in the Gulf of Mexico. Just about every fish that frequents our coast line is available to anglers that come prepared to fish the next few months. The abundance of bait and cooling waters send fish into a get it while you can” state of mind, and a well presented bait is rarely snubbed by gorging fish. If bottom fishing is your thing, then this is your time of year.

I implore you to expand your mind this time of year on bait choice and tackle selection. The same rock piles and ledges that you grouper fish on are home to an abundance of other tasty species such as: Flounder, Hogfish, Mangrove Snapper, Permit and Scamp. For these critters, a bait well full of shrimp, fiddler crabs, small pilchards or finger mullet are a must. Start by anchoring on a good piece of “grouper” structure and start fishing with some dead bait like squid or shrimp on spinners with 20-30 lb test braid. Mix up your rigs and presentation to see what’s working best. Knocker rigs and fisherman rigs with a one to two ounce egg sinker are primarily the “go to” rigs, try out some red or pink jig heads to mix it up. Once the bite gets turned on and there’s a few grunt in the box, switch to the live baits and be ready for some great light tackle action.  While anchored, put out a flat line or two. Larger live bait such as blue runners, cigar minnows or mullet, running them way out the back about 75 yards on a balloon with a stinger rig under it. If you don’t have any large live bait, use the biggest frozen sardine you have on board. My second flat line is only about 50 feet behind the boat and has a 30 lb fluorocarbon leader, 2/0 hook, small split shot and a large shrimp.

Anglers seldom realize how many permit we have around our near shore reefs in 30 to 100 ft of water, not to mention the ever present Cobia will slurp up any vulnerable crustacean in its path. Tripletail are starting to show up. While you are cruising from spot to spot be sure to check under any crab balls or floating debris, they will look like a paper bag under the surface. If you spot one, then turn the boat around and approach it slowly. Free line a live shrimp or pilchard up current from the debris and hang on, this seemingly lazy fish will explode to life and even get airborne.

billy-pearsonInshore: November is the prime time of the year for finding large schools of Redfish on the flats around Ft. Desoto and Tampa Bay. There are several methods that will put fish in the boat but the key to success is stealth. Stealth means much more than just being quiet. Eliminating small things like shadows, hull slap and even trolling motors will greatly improve your chances for success. Never cast your bait over or in the middle of the school because it can only take one fish to spook the whole school. Instead, observe what they are doing and the direction they’re moving and position your bait in their path. Spinning reels from 2500 to 4000 series with 15 to 20 lb braid and a 3 foot 20lb fluorocarbon leader tied to either your lure or a 2/0 circle hook for live or dead bait. Lures like weedless gold spoons, root beer colored jigs and Savage Gear shrimp will defiantly get you some good bites. However if the water is dirty or the fish are pressured and more aware then you can’t go wrong with cut bait. Free line chunks of ladyfish, mullet or pinfish in the path of the school and let it soak. Redfish are very opportunistic and love fresh cut bait. Most of these fish are over the 18 to 27 inch slot limit and will need to be released. Take good care of them, making sure they swim away because these bruisers will fight it out until the end. Be respectful of other anglers that may be fishing the same school as you, giving each other space. This type of fishing is done either in the early morning or on weekdays. Weekend afternoons have just too much boat traffic and fish are spooked out.

What’s happening: December 10th is our 50th Annual Holiday Boat Parade with over $7,000 in cash prizes – Enter your boat and win!

As always, if you have any questions about tackle or other marine needs come see us at the Madeira Beach Marina. We can special order just about anything you will need and at a very reasonable price. Now go out there and take a kid fishing, it is extremely rewarding for you and will have a lasting impact on their lives. Have a safe trip and enjoy the paradise we live in.

Brian Crabtree – Marina Supervisor



Pan Seared King Mackerel w/ Smoked Gouda Grits and Tomato Bacon Gravy

King Mackerel is not an everyday fish in most peoples kitchens. Even properly prepped it’s strong flavor can overwhelm many a recipe. We have a recipe here that not only hold up well but, wraps itself fully around the mackerel, incorporating the fish’s more notable characteristics in a savory and tasty dish.

Chef’s Disclaimer: While it may be argued that most recipes on the web are derivative to some degree this recipe is, admittedly, lifted almost entirely whole. From the original recipe, Pan Seared Florida Grouper w/ Smoked Gouda Grits and Tomato Bacon Gravy – a wonderful Fresh Florida recipe, the Grouper has been replaced with King Mackerel. That’s about it. There are few minor riffs in our take on the dish but, the fish choice is the only material departure from the original. The execution of this recipe is not anywhere as tedious as it might appear on screen. The work flows and the end product is well worth the effort.

King Mackerel Recipe

Recipe Ingredients

4 King Mackerel filets

2 ½ cups chicken stock

1 cup milk        

1 cup grits, coarse ground

1 tablespoon butter

Dash of white pepper

1/2 cup+ smoked Gouda cheese, cubed

1 teaspoon grapeseed oil

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped fine

4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped coarse

2 large Florida tomatoes, diced small

1 tablespoon fresh garlic, chopped fine

3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

1/2 lemon, juiced

4 scallions, sliced thin for garnish

Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

King Mackerel Recipe Ingredients

Recipe Preparation

The Grits

smokey gouda grits

Combine the chicken stock and milk in a pot and get your grits & Gouda ready to go.



Bring the liquids to a slow boil, add the grits, white pepper & butter and stir the mixture until thoroughly mixed. Cook per package directions until done.


cheesey grits

When the Grits are ready, reduce heat, add the Gouda Cheese, mix in well for 2 minutes and, as needed, add additional milk/stock (chefs choice) to achieve desired consistency. Cover and set burner temp to low until you are ready to plate the dish.


The Grouper

king mackerel filets

Season the Mackerel fillets



Heat your skillet, w/oil, to medium. Place the fillets in heated oil for searing.



Pan sear the fillets 3-4 minutes per side until golden brown and cooked through. Remove the fillets, and set aside until ready for plating.



With the fillets off to the side, bring the bacon to the skillet, cooking for 3 minutes or until they just start to brown up a little.


fried bacon and tomatoes

Add the chopped tomato & garlic to the bacon and, stirring the mixture, cook for an additional 2 minutes.



Add the heavy cream, lemon juice and 1/2 cup of chicken stock to the cooking mixture. Bring to a low boil, stirring as you go, and reduce the heat.


tomato bacon gravy

Season further with salt & pepper as desired. Yo are ready to construct the dish and take it to the table and your hungry diners.


Pan Seared King Mackerel with Smokey Gouda Grits and Tomato Bacon Gravy

Lay down some foundation gravy, add a generous portion of the grits, settle a fillet on in there, a little more gravy and some chopped scallion to finish. If you are a Mack lover, this is the dish for you. Tight lines and see you at the fuel dock….

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Old Salt Fishing Foundation is designated a 501(C)(3) Tax Exempt Organization by the United States Internal Revenue Service and a registered Florida Nonprofit Corporation