King of the Beach By: Tanya Michelle

Wow! The tournament weigh-in line stretches more than 100 yards. Each team waits their turn with fish bags in hand. The first tournament I covered has set the bar high. The 2022 Fall King of the Beach hosted 378 teams and paid out 64 places. Lots of cash, a Suzuki outboard motor, jewelry, fish rubbings and three days of a whole lot of people having a whole lot of fun! Team 99 Problems, Captain Brain Hasson & Co-Captains Mike Layton & Jason Schaub won the Grand Prize, collecting a check for over $86k and were crowned the Kings. His significant other Cory Maumenee, also won the Ladies Division and their son, Wyatt Hasson, won the Youth division. If that isn’t an incredible feat in itself, Brian is the reigning champ, as he was crowned the King last year and back in 2015–that’s just incredible. Congratulations to all of you.

The King of the Beach is a tournament put on by the Old Salt Foundation for the heaviest kingfish & Spanish mackerel. There are several divisions you can enter, and they also offer TWTs (Tournament within a Tournament) you can buy into. These tournaments are held twice a year–Spring and Fall. They have several other family friendly tournaments each year and, also, a few amazing kids’ seawall tourneys.

Brian and his team used 7-foot Dogfish Sticks from Dogfish Tackle & Shimano reels for their big catch. Their winning kingfish weighed in at a huge 39.0 pounds, making their sponsor County Judge Della Cope super proud.

The proceeds from the King of the Beach are being donated to the Hurricane Ian relief fund, partnered with the Marine Industries Association. Special thanks to everyone who entered and fished the tourney.

Old Salt Fishing Foundation is a 49-year-old not-for-profit fishing organization headquartered in Madeira Beach, FL. The Foundation serves anglers with a variety of youth and family programs, competitive fishing tournaments and angler advocacy efforts. The Foundation operates with an all-volunteer staff and board of directors. Over the past 10 years, Old Salt has delivered fishing tournaments, conservation education programs and opportunities for tens of thousands of anglers all while donating in excess of one million dollars to deserving regional charities. President and board members Tom & Amy Verdensky work their tails off, and have done so for 17 years. The mission of the Foundation is “To create, protect and promote recreational fishing opportunities for Florida anglers and their families.” Old Salt supports the development of sound fisheries science and conservation policies, youth & family outreach and angler education. Check out their website and come join in on the fun.

Photo courtesy: Kevin Randolph