by Jeremy Wallace, Co-Publisher
It had been over 30 years since my last tournament when I would head out to Montauk & Block Island with my grandfather, dad, & their fishing crew out of Brooklyn’s Sheepshead Bay Tuna Club for giant bluefin tuna on my grandfather’s 38 foot Pacemaker. From age 5-15 I would hang out with these “salty men” as they exchanged fishing stories, life lessons, dirty jokes, & everything else that made me a part of who I am today. My grandfather was one of the best around, he’d get such respect around the docks as the Nu-Life won so many of these USATT events with catches I can recall of 893 lbs. & 694 lbs., where he captained the boat & my dad was the one in the old school fighting chair, no stand-up for these giants back in the day.
This KDW was truly special as I was able to get my 10 year old son Jackson into his first real fishing tournament since he has such enthusiasm for this sport. We fished with Joe Parent, his kids Kaiya & Declan, Jack Powers, & Peter Mena as our 1st mate. I became friendly with Joe while our sons were on the same ice hockey team last season & we agreed this was an experience we wanted to share with our kids. Despite not placing, it was such a memorable day as we got into a few kings (our largest was close to 20 lbs. but a giant shark had an appetite), bonitos, & peanut mahi’s to round out what was a beautiful day on his well-equipped 22 foot Mako.
Overall, this KDW at the top-notch Sailfish Marina was amazing from beginning to end, the Captains meeting, kids’ tournament, and awards dinner were all so well run. It was great to see the local support of vendors like Kluch, Line-X, Tuppen’s, XGeneration, & many others. Billy Wummer, Sherri Beswick, & so many more did an impeccable job and put much time into this yearly event. This year 256 boats participated, 16 dogs were adopted, & last year they were able to donate $22,500 to charity that they are hoping to surpass this year. Congrats to Yellowfin Builders for their 46 lb. Wahoo tournament winner, everyone else who placed, & all who participated to make this such a successful event!