BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - A successful transition of ownership of the Southern Kingfish Association is complete, and South Mississippi will continue to be an important draw for the largest king mackerel circuit in the United States.
SKA founder Jack Holmes was in Biloxi on Saturday as the tournament made a Division 7 stop at the Palace Casino in Biloxi. He said the ever-popular king mackerel fishing organization is now owned by the National Boat Owners Association, an insurance company based out of Sarasota, FL.
That means the 2014 SKA National Championship will be held at the Point Cadet Marina in Biloxi on Nov. 3 through Nov. 9 with boats competing from North Carolina to Texas. Teams will compete in a variety of divisional events during the summer to earn a spot in the championship.
The new owners are also considering Biloxi as a long term host for the championship that draws between 100 and 150 boats each year and benefits local tourism during the slow month of November. Factor in family members, sponsors and vendors, and the SKA National Championship has attracted several thousand visitors to Biloxi in the past.
"We have officially taken over," said Ben Wells, Chief Operating Officer for the SKA. "We have been considering listening to our anglers as a possible rotation basis (national championship) in three different markets. After seeing this venue, I'm not sure we can find a better facility to host the national championship than Biloxi. To host an event of this magnitude, you need hotel rooms, entertainment and slips at the marina. You have that right here in Biloxi, and I don't see any reason why we will not be back next November. Based on the fishing, which is the best, and the facilities, I don't see any reason why we will not come back for other Novembers after this year and next. After preliminary hearings (this weekend) we love the idea of continuing to have the national championship here. There is no other place like Biloxi. This is the Super Bowl of fishing for the anglers, and they love it here."
Holmes said the SKA National Championship has been held in Biloxi 10 times since 1991.
"We have always loved coming to Biloxi," Holmes said. "We are passing the torch, and we're happy to do it. Where else, especially on the East Coast, do you have the facility to house 150 boats? Factor in the excellent fishery, this has always been a perfect fit for us. From Carolina to Florida and into Louisiana, we all have the same thing in common. We love to fish. Biloxi has the entertainment and the fisheries, and that makes for a perfect fit."