UPCOMING EVENT: TACKLE WAREHOUSE PRO CIRCUIT - 2020 - Harris Chain of Lakes

Wild ride at Fort Pierce

Wild ride at Fort Pierce
By winning at Fort Pierce, Fla., Capt. Randy Griffin of Hampstead, N.C., and Team M&Ms won their first FLW Kingfish Tour event on their third trip to the tour's finals.

FORT PIERCE, Fla. - They had to catch a lot of weight to do it - some 82 pounds of kingfish and more - but Team M&M's, formerly known as Wild Ride, just edged out Team Miss Micki2 in the final round of action to win $100,000 at the Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour event in Fort Pierce.

This one was close, as big kingfish tourneys go. Capt. Randy Griffin Jr. of Hampstead, N.C., and his Team M&M's caught a 36-pound, 9-ounce fish Sunday. Team Miss Micki2 came into the day with a 1-pound lead over M&M's, and the leaders also caught a good king over 30 pounds. However, at just 33 pounds, 13 ounces, Miss Micki2's clincher fell just short by almost 2 pounds.

The final tally after three days of fishing: M&M's 82-11, Miss Micki2 80-14.

The money difference made by those 2 pounds: Champions M&M's cleared $100,000 in winnings and contingencies; runners-up Miss Micki2 cleared $32,620.

"Two pounds? Hey, it's happened before, and it will happen again," Miss Micki2 crewmember Bill McLamb said. "At least it's not 2 ounces."

Third time's a charm

This was Griffin's third trip to the five-boat finals in FLW Kingfish Tour competition. The first two trips for M&M's/Wild Ride (at Beaufort, S.C., and Mt. Pleasant, S.C., in 2006) elicited fifth-place finishes both times, so he knows what near misses feel like.

"I can't tell you, it was just our time, I guess," Griffin said. "I've been here twice before, so the third time's a charm."

M&M's caught seven kings Sunday - most weighing in the teens and 20s - but it was their fourth fish that made them the money. They started fishing near the beach north of Sebastian Inlet but then made a move south about three hours into the day.

"The fish were moving back and forth down the beach," crewmember Ronnie Miller said. "We thought the fish had moved, so we ran south a couple miles."

Fishing about 18 feet of water, the 36-pound, 9-ouncer bit a ribbonfish on the downrigger at about 12 feet. The rest, as they say, was history.

"I didn't think it was going to be enough. There have been so many good fish caught here. There were, what, 20 fish over 40 pounds weighed in the first two days?" Griffin said. "The money's nice, but we've tried so hard, and first place has eluded us. Every time we've been in the top five, we've finished last - until now. Oh yeah, I'm feeling really good."

Micki's money hole dries up

The spot that coughed up Miss Micki2's opening-round-leading 47-pound, 1-ounce king - actually, everybody's spot, located just past Sebastian Inlet - cooled off Sunday. Still, Capt. Ricky Rowland of Fuquay Varina, N.C., and his team managed to put a scare into the eventual winners with a nice 33-13.

"We were close. We were looking for a 40(-pounder), but we just didn't find the class of fish that we had all week," McLamb said.

Miss Mick2 caught four kings Sunday, and their big one came at about 9 a.m. on a big blue runner.

"We caught four, and then, bam, the bite was shut down out there where we were," McLamb said. "The wind changed a little bit, and it got fished hard today, too."

Capt. Mike Edwards of Wilmington, N.C., and Team BP caught a 22-pound, 8-ounce kingfish and finished third with a total weight of 69-9.BP third

After mounting a big comeback to tie for the lead Saturday, Capt. Mike Edwards of Wilmington, N.C., and Team BP came up short on Sunday. They caught a 22-pound, 8-ounce kingfish and finished third with a total weight of 69-9.

BP earned $19,100 in winnings and contingencies.

"The key for us was ribbonfish. We had a complete spread of blue runners and goggle-eyes, but we just so happened to catch them on ribbonfish," Edwards said. "We had a fun time down here, and there were a lot of fish caught."

Team Bounty, captained by Tom Aberle of Wilmington, N.C., finished fourth with a total weight of 63 pounds, 1 ounce. This fish in the finals weighed 17-8.Bounty fourth

Team Bounty, captained by Tom Aberle of Wilmington, N.C., finished fourth and earned $15,380 with a total weight of 63 pounds, 1 ounce.

They caught a 17-pound, 8-ounce kingfish in Sunday's finals.

"We fished about six or seven spots today and moved around a lot," Aberle said. "We caught 15 kings today; they just weren't the big kings that we've been catching all week."

House-Autry fifth

Capt. Ronald Sutton of Carolina Beach, N.C., and Team House Autry rounded out the top five finishers with a total weight of 58 pounds, 12 ounces. They caught a 12-2 king Sunday.

"We had fun, we caught a lot of fish, and it was beautiful weather," Sutton said.

House-Autry cleared $13,520 in winnings and contingencies.

Coming up

The next Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour event, the season's third, is scheduled for Beaufort, S.C., Aug. 17-19.

Tags: jeff-schroeder  headline-story  2007-06-08-fort-pierce 

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