Light southeast winds and calm seas were a welcome sight for the 220 boats entered in this year’s Palm Beach County KDW Classic held June 4.
The event, hosted by the West Palm Beach Fishing Club and the City of Riviera Beach, is among the largest one-day saltwater tournaments in the state. Despite the chamber of commerce weather, offshore fishing was very slow. Dirty water conditions plagued those trolling the outer reef early in the morning looking for a wahoo bite. To the surprise of many, no wahoo were caught during this year’s event.
“You would think with a few hundred boats out there someone would catch a wahoo, but I guess it just wasn’t in the cards this year,” said WPBFC Chairman and tournament weigh master Pete Schulz. “Even though it was slow, it sure looked like everyone was having a great time.”
The tournament weigh station began buzzing with activity soon after fishing had concluded. Spectators packed the weigh station bleachers watching a parade of fish and proud anglers – many of them young kids – weigh in their catch.
The heaviest dolphin was a hefty 30.7-pounder caught by angler Austin Rowe aboard the boat Cuddabird. Lady angler Crystal Lucas, fishing aboard Miss Mae, landed the second heaviest dolphin of the tournament, a 23.9-pound mahi.
Angler Rob Tonnis, aboard the HMT Fishing Team, was this year’s big winner, landing a 33.6-pound kingfish that took top honors in the kingfish category and was also the heaviest fish of the tournament.
The second place kingfish overall and the second heaviest fish of the tournament was a 33-pound king landed by angler Freddie Joseph fishing aboard the Spiced Rum III.
The top junior angler this year was Robert Furney, who claimed the first-place trophy with a 15.5-pound kingfish.
Each year, the KDW Classic collects gender, weight and length data on dolphin caught in the tournament, which is sent to the Dolphinfish Research Program based in Charleston, S.C. Marine scientists use the data for ongoing studies related to age and growth, as well as distribution of the species. Approximately 40 dolphin were sampled this year.
To view complete results from this year’s tournament and to view photos, go online to KDWClassic.com.