Written By Sam White
At just over 600 teams, the King of the Beach tournament on the west coast of Florida has grown to become the largest king mackerel tournament of its kind anywhere in the world. So what does it take to win an event like this, and pocket just a hair under $80,000 along the way? We went straight to the source to find out. And the story may surprise you: no marathon 100-plus-mile runs, no super-secret hotspot stacked with big fish, just solid local knowledge and a bit of luck to get the right bite.
Richard Fabrizi has been tournament king mackerel fishing for over 25 years, from the Outer Banks of North Carolina to the upper Gulf of Mexico and well beyond. He knows what it takes to be competitive against the best on the water, and so he used that experience when it was time to lay it all on the line in this year’s Spring King of the Beach, held April 28-30, 2016.
“We decided not to pre-fish this year,” he says. “With that many teams on the water, it wasn’t going to matter where you went—there would probably be boats there. That was what surprised us though, we got to our spot first thing in the morning and there wasn’t another boat around.” The Spring King of the Beach is a boundary tournament, so teams were limited to Cedar Key to the north, Boca Grande Pass to the south and roughly 30 miles offshore to the west. A lot of teams fishing a small area, but that’s what keeps it competitive for everyone in the game.
Fabrizi, fishing with Stevie Dellane, Sarah Dykens and Emiley Mangano, had run the Wise Guy, a 36-foot Yellowfin, out to a fairly well-known live bottom area in 120 feet of water southwest of Egmont Key. And, at least for the time being, they were all alone. Continue Reading