Thirteen-year-old Austin Flanders, fishing aboard Knot Guilty, landed a 32.54-pound king mackerel Friday to take the first-day lead in the 21st annual Fishing for Miracles King Mackerel Tournament.
Second place is held by Mondo, captained by Jeffrey Shupping, with a 32.59-pound catch which squeaked by Fish Hunter, captained by Melvin Knight, whose fish weighed 32.58 pounds.
This year's tournament drew 115 entries, and fishing was slow with only 32 fish weighed although five came in at 30 or more pounds. The tournament will pay prizes to 30th place. Proceeds from the tournament benefit the MUSC Children's Hospital Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and the Coastal Conservation Association of South Carolina.
In most of the Fishing for Miracles tournaments, boats have already arrived at the dock when the scales open, but Friday the first boat to the scales was Craftsmanship at 2:50 p.m., 50 minutes after scales opened. The scales are open from 1-4 p.m. for Saturday's final day of fishing.
Knot Guilty is captained by Alan Richey. Also on board were Miller Richie, Austin Flanders, Scott Flanders and Mike Atkins.
Flanders, a rising eighth-grader at Cario Middle School, said his fish came at 9:30 a.m. and was hooked on a live menhaden fished on a downrigger.
It was a double strike, but Miller's fish dove to the bottom and broke off. Flanders' catch was foul-hooked and it took 35 minutes to get it within gaffing distance.
1. Knot Guilty, Capt. Alan Richey, 35.24; 2. Mondo, Jeffrey Shupping, 32.59; 3. Fish Hunter, Melvin Knight, 32.58; 4. Double Dzz, Dennis Schafer, 32.15; 5. Hard Rock, Rock Powell, 30.73; 6. In 2 Deep, Kevin O'Neale, 29.71; 7. Tailwalker, Stuart Ballard, 29.63; 8. Mangler, Mo Mangan, 29.43; 9. Yates Sea, David Yates, 29.31; 10. Gas Money, James Lane, 28.35; 11. Row Boat, Maci Dean, 28.20; 12. Reelist, Trae Everett, 27.73; 13. Pole Dancer, David Hartness, 27.49; 14. Solid Surface, Andy Nettles, 27.47; 15. Half Mine II, Preston Knight, 27.05.
16. Knot@Work, Robert Olsen, 27.04; 17. Juggernaut, Bert Harvey, 26.57; 18. Team Seafox, Ryan Balderson, 25.82; 19. Big Deal, Oliver Burwell, 25.57; 20. My Last Boat, Carl Jenkins, 25.05; 21. Team Instigator, Scott Smith, 23.52; 22. Judy Bee, Phillip Brock, 23.22; 23. Salt Shaker, Curt Warrington, 22.86; 24. Salt Shaker Grande, Kevin Cone, 22.55; 25. Sea Scaper, Dennis Hensley, 22.36; 26. NautiGull, Chad Sullivan, 22.15; 27. Zig Zag, Walker Ferrell, 21.39; 28. Houdini, Rich Bermudez, 20.56; 29. Craftsmanship, Justin Natale, 20.43; 30. Mo Better II, Anthony Stith Jr., 19.30.
LADY ANGLER: Krystin Kilman, Double Dzz, 32.15.
YOUTH ANGLER: Austin Flanders, Knot Guilty, 35.24.