UPCOMING EVENT: FLW Pro Circuit - 2020 - Sam Rayburn Reservoir

Team Pork Chop wins Kingfish Series event in Tierra Verde

Team Pork Chop wins Kingfish Series event in Tierra Verde
Team Pork Chop, headed by Robert Dawson of St. Petersburg, Fla., caught a kingfish weighing 27 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the Kingfish Series Gulf Coast Division event in Tierra Verde and $12,000 cash.

TIERRA VERDE, Fla. - Team Pork Chop, headed by Robert Dawson of St. Petersburg, Fla., caught a kingfish weighing 27 pounds, 10 ounces Saturday to win the Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series Gulf Coast Division event in Tierra Verde and $12,000 cash.

Dawson, along with teammates Dan Condron and Ray Szymanski, both of St. Petersburg caught their money fish on a blue runner in the prop wash of their boat.

Dawson said on a last minute whim he opted to make a longer run to the Boca Grande Pass, where he had heard a number of good-sized kings were being caught consistently. When he arrived, there were already too many boats in the area he wanted to fish. Knowing a few other places fairly close, he motored over to them and stumbled upon the mother lode.

"Today was one of the best kingfishing days I have ever had," he said. "I bet we caught around 20 kings in a little over an hour. We had a hard time keeping a bait in the water. This place was a textbook king spot. It was a submerged rock pile just north of the Boca Grande Pass. It was just covered up with bait and bonito were busting everywhere. I'm not sure why there were so many kings in the area. I guess it's like putting a McDonald's on an interstate, people are going to stop and eat."

Rounding out the top five teams were Team Maximo Marine, captained by Chris Turner of St. Petersburg (26 pounds, 6 ounces, $2,835); Team Baitmasters, captained by Robert Aylesworth of St. Petersburg (25 pounds, 4 ounces, $1,890); Team Berkley, captained by Dieter Cardwell of Winston Salem, N.C. (23 pounds, 1 ounce, $1,686); and Team Mutual Fun, captained by John Akers of Duluth, Ga. (21 pounds, 4 ounces, $1,350).

Team Knotty Thoughts, captained by Tom Verdensky of Seminole, Fla., won the tournament's "25 and Under" bonus of $2,000 as the highest-finishing team running a boat 25 feet long or shorter. Team Knotty Thoughts runs a Hydra-Sports powered by Yamaha. They caught a 15-pound, 9-ounce kingfish and finished in 11th place, earning a total of $3,147, including the bonus.

Jared Fuller of Apopka, Fla., placed 15th with a 13-pound, 3-ounce kingfish as a member of Team Fishing Dreams, earning the tournament's award for the highest-finishing competitor under 16 years old.

The award for highest-finishing woman went to Karen Bixler of Redington Beach, Fla., who placed seventh with a 19-pound, 8-ounce kingfish as a member of Team Sea Dog.

Team Quick Load, captained by Dan Hockett of St. Petersburg, rescued some young fishermen off of their sinking vessel right after takeoff Saturday morning. The two had been missing since 7 Friday evening. They had been sitting on the bow of their overturned offshore boat, barley above water, waiting for a boat to come close enough to see them. No one ever did, darkness came, and the duo ended up spending an unwanted night at sea.

"As we were coming up the channel near the Skyway Bridge, I saw a boat that looked like a kayak paddling across the channel," Hockett said. "As I got closer, it was someone waving as if they were trying to flag me down instead of a kayak. I slowed down and approached them and to my dismay saw it was a 22-foot offshore boat upside down and nearly sunk. When I was approaching, the young men started to panic and wanted to board my boat immediately. After I got them calmed down and put a plan together, we tossed them life vests and pulled them in one at a time."

The two men were pulled aboard Hockett's vessel, and they alerted their families that they were safe. According to Hockett, the stranded boaters were in good physical shape with no noticeable injuries. Hockett returned the men safely to their waiting families.

"As I was dropping the kids off at the dock where their families were waiting, I told them that they need to go home, eat, get a shower and be sure they go to church Sunday morning and be thankful, because they really dodged a bullet," Hockett said.

Even through this turbulent day, Hockett and team still managed to haul in six kingfish with their biggest weighing 14-2 earning them a 13th place finish and $205.

FLW Kingfish Series qualifying tournaments are one-day events. Each team is allowed to weigh in one kingfish, and the winning team is determined by the heaviest fish. The next FLW Kingfish Series Gulf Coast Division tournament will be held May 26 in Tierra Verde.

The FLW Kingfish Series consists of five divisions - East Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina-Georgia, Gulf Coast and Upper Gulf. Each division is comprised of three events with a $100,000 purse for each event. The top three teams from each tournament and the top 16 teams (who are not already qualified) from each division after all qualifiers are complete will advance to the three-day, $275,000 no-entry-fee Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series Championship in Orange Beach, Ala., Oct. 4-6, which will be featured in a one-hour episode of "FLW Outdoors" broadcast to 80 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) households in the United States and more than 429 million households in Europe, Asia and Africa. The points champion from each division will also advance directly to the $500,000 no-entry-fee Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour Championship in Biloxi, Miss., Nov. 2-4, where they will compete against top FLW Kingfish Tour teams for a top award of $150,000.

Named after the legendary founder of Ranger Boats, Forrest L. Wood, FLW Outdoors administers the Wal-Mart FLW Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Series, Stren Series, Wal-Mart Bass Fishing League, Wal-Mart Texas Tournament Trail presented by Abu Garcia, Ranger Owners Tournament Championship Series, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Walleye League, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour, Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Series, Wal-Mart FLW Redfish Series and Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series. These circuits offer combined purses of nearly $43 million through 241 events in 2007.

Wal-Mart and many of America's largest and most respected companies support FLW Outdoors and its tournament trails. Wal-Mart signed on as an FLW Outdoors sponsor in 1997 and today is the world's leading supporter of tournament fishing. For more information about Wal-Mart, visit Walmart.com.

For more information about FLW Outdoors and its tournaments, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.

Tags: press-release  2007-05-19-tierra-verde-fl 

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