BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Southern Kingfish Association's National Championship came to an end last weekend and it was a true survival of the fittest. A field of nearly 140 boats from across the southeast, fought off a cool front, dealt stiff winds and faced rough wave conditions during a week long stay in Biloxi that determined the top king mackerel fishing team for 2013.
In the end, tournament officials were forced to cut the scheduled two days of competitive fishing to a single day shootout when six-to-nine foot waves were reported in the northern Gulf of Mexico. Despite the series of obstacles the teams faced, SKA founder Jack Holmes said the national championship was a success.
In the end, the Ocean Isle Team claimed the title with a two-fish aggregate weight of 105.10 pounds. The overall weight included the largest king mackerel of the tournament at 56-pounds.
''We had bad weather from the Carolinas down the East Coast that wrapped around the Florida Keys and into the Gulf of Mexico,'' Holmes said. ''It didn't matter if you were in the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf, there was bad weather in both places for the whole week. We were happy to get the championship in and some of the fishermen said it was some of the roughest water that they had fished in all year. But the Gulf of Mexico is not as bad as the Atlantic Ocean when it gets rough. All-in-all, it was good and I was happy. We love it here in Biloxi. We've been here for 18 years.''
With solid catches reported by most teams, Holmes said negotiations are already underway with local officials to bring the 2014 national championship back to Biloxi.
The Golden Nugget Casino and the Point Cadet Marina in Biloxi served as the host sites for this year's championship.
''We have started talks with the hopes of coming back again,'' Holmes said. ''Right now, Fort Pierce, FL wants up back and we have a new player in the mix and that's Key West.
''I would rather come back to Biloxi and that's our choice. That's the choice of most of the fishermen, too. Like I said, it's my choice and everyone involved, so we will see.''