Team Pro Marine USA.com / Hannon's Cannon Leads Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour Event in Sarasota
April 13, 2007
SARASOTA, Fla. – Team Pro Marine USA.com/Hannon's Cannon captained by Kevin Hannon of Seminole, Fla., caught a kingfish weighing 39 pounds, 10 ounces Friday to lead day one of the $300,000 Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour event presented by Land O' Lakes in Sarasota, where the nation's top king mackerel teams are competing for a top award of as much as $100,000 cash.
Teams fished in warm, sunny conditions with winds of 10-15 knots and 2- to 3-foot seas. Gulf surface temperatures measured approximately 71 degrees in the Sarasota area and baitfish schools were plentiful.
Joined by Steve Rowley of Valrico, Fla., Shannon Armstrong of Jacksonville, Fla. and Rick Cook of St. Petersburg, Fla., Hannon ran 100 miles south of Sarasota and fished over hard bottom approximately 30 miles offshore in 80 feet of water. Abundant baitfish, 74-degree water temperature and recent experience told him that this spot was a good bet. “We fished two weeks ago in that area and we kind of knew the fish were there,” he said.
The big kingfish ate a live blue runner in the shotgun position about 10:30 a.m. Hannon handled the rod and Rowley gaffed the king after a 10-minute fight. When the fish struck, the team had only two lines deployed, so they were able to quickly transition into pursuit mode.
“He blistered us at first,” Hannon recalled. “He made three good runs, but we got right on top of him. Every time he ran, we ran. We tired him out quickly.”
The leaders caught three other kingfish Friday, with two in the 33-pound range. Hannon decided to leave his spot shortly after noon to ensure sufficient return time.
“When we have a good fish, we'll give ourselves twice as much time to get home,” he said. “We'll get on the beach, look for bait and fish our way home.”
With Saturday's forecast calling for increased wind and rough seas, Hannon said his team still faces a tough chore to reach Sunday's finale. “We have a decent first-day fish, but we have to back it,” he said. “We have to go get a bigger fish. We might not run that far again tomorrow. We might go anchor on the beach and start chumming.”
Rounding out the top five teams are Team Koolau captained by Conrad Lau of Neptune Beach, Fla. (37 pounds, 11 ounces); Team Strategix captained by Thomas Biddix of Melbourne, Fla. (37 pounds, 6 ounces); Team Logan's Run captained by D. Logan of Belville, NC (36 pounds, 15 ounces); and Team House-Autry captained by Ronald Sutton of Carolina Beach, NC (36 pounds, 2 ounces).
When the scales finally closed, 63 teams had landed kingfish weighing a total of 1,453 pounds, 1 ounce.
FLW Kingfish Tour qualifying tournaments are three-day events. The entire field competes Friday and Saturday, and the top five teams compete Sunday. The winning team is determined based on the heaviest kingfish from Friday or Saturday plus the heaviest kingfish from Sunday. Teams will take off from the Hyatt Sarasota on Sarasota Bay located at 1000 Boulevard of the Arts at 6:30 each morning. Scales open at the marina at 3 p.m. Saturday and all teams must check-in by 5 p.m. Sunday's final weigh-in will be held at the Wal-Mart store located at 13140 South Tamiami Trail in Osprey beginning at 4:30 p.m. The takeoff and weigh-ins are free and open to the public.
Coverage of the Sarasota tournament hosted by the Sarasota Convention & Visitors Bureau will be broadcast to 81 million FSN (Fox Sports Net) subscribers in the United States May 20 as part of the “FLW Outdoors” television program. “FLW Outdoors” airs Sunday mornings at 11 Eastern time. “FLW Outdoors” is also broadcast internationally to 429 million households in such countries as Germany, China, South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Russia, Hungary and the United Kingdom, making it the most widely distributed fishing program in the world. Additionally, FLW Outdoors is proud to provide tournament coverage to more than 800,000 servicemembers stationed around the world in 177 countries and aboard Navy ships through broadcasts on the American Forces Network.
The $1.7 million Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour consists of four regular-season events. After four events are complete, the top 50 teams will compete in the three-day, no-entry-fee $500,000 Wal-Mart FLW Kingfish Tour Championship presented by BP in Biloxi, Miss., Nov. 2-4. The winning team at the championship will take home as much as $150,000.
The FLW Kingfish Tour will stop in Fort Pierce, Fla., June 8-10 for its second regular-season event, presented by Evinrude Outboards, followed by an event August 17-19 at Beaufort, SC presented by Yamaha Motors. The tour's last qualifying event, presented by Raymarine, will be held in Atlantic Beach, NC, September 28-30.
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 tournament programs, browse FLWOutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.
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