The king mackerel 11-year-old Cole Suggs boated last Saturday was a prize catch in many ways. Not only was the 40.8-pound king the largest Suggs has ever caught, it also was the largest landed by any of the 57 boats entered in the Tailwalker Marine Offshore Challenge fished out of Georgetown Landing.
The fish, caught aboard the 26-foot Sailfish boat named BeerAbility, was worth $13,400 for Suggs, his father Dow and crew members Kenneth Nelson and Danny Boulware.
“(Cole) has caught a few big fish, a 30 and a 33, but this was impressive. This was the first 40-pound fish we’ve caught on the boat. That’s a mark you hardly ever see, especially during a tournament,” Dow Suggs said of the win. Suggs said the weather was awful early in the morning as they had to run through storms to get to their fishing spot, but it cleared up and was nice the rest of the day.
“We fished one spot where everything looked good for 2 ˝ hours, but we weren’t doing anything. The water was kind of cold for what we do, 76 degrees,” Suggs said. “We caught one shark and decided that was it. We worked our way offshore and the water was two degrees warmer so we stopped.”
Suggs said the big fish hit as they were dropping in their fourth line, around 11 a.m. It hit a large menhaden fished on a downrigger in about 85 feet of water. It was still too early to head to the weigh-in, which didn’t begin until 3 p.m., so they continued to fish, catching and releasing several other nice kings before taking a leisurely ride back to Georgetown Landing.
Suggs said his crew won the James Island Yacht Club King Mackerel Tournament seven or eight years earlier and more recently placed seventh overall in the Key West Boats Fishing for Miracles King Mackerel Tournament.
Other category winners were: Overall – Juggernaut, Bert Harvey, 35.91; In 2 Deep, Kevin O’Neal, 31.63; Team Old School, Scott Jennings, 30.36; Flip Side, Phillip Sawyer, 29.51; Knot @ Work, Robert Olsen, 28.74; Tort Teaser, Brandon Smith, 28.20; Big Bad Wolfe, Stacy Wester, 27.46; Lien Holdeer, John Benford, 27.45; Aqua Loco, Joshua Baker, 27.21; Yates-Sea, David Yates, 24.9; Eren’s Addiction Too, Jack Bracewell, 24.56; Courtney Lynn, Bruce Bogturisg, 24.49; Tailwalker, Stuart Ballard, 24.16; Black Cat, Jamey Stewart, 24.07.
23-Under – Seafox, Ryan Balderson, 35.39; Hard Rock, Rodney Powell, 26.58; Southern Style, Grant Powell, 26.16. Junior Angler – Cole Suggs, BeerAbility, 40.80; Hayden Jennings, Team Old School, 30.36; Andrew Olsen, Knot @ Work, 28.74. Lady – Michelle Straul, In 2 Deep, 31.63. Senior – Anthony Ford, Aqua Loco, 27.21. Largest cobia – Billy Powell, Low Country Native, 51.4. Biggest Spanish – David Perry, MSC, 3.83.