Catch them if you can: Today’s Greater Jax Kingfish event a 1-day affair

The 42nd tournament on Friday ushers in single-day format to help anglers save money on competing

Greater Jax Kingfish tournament closing in with new one-day general tourney format

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It’s going to be a fast and furious Friday at Jim King Park and Boat Ramp at Sisters Creek.

The 42nd installment of the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament arrives Friday in quite a different looking format. Instead of a two-day general tournament as it’s been in the past, the GJKT is cutting it in half. That means it’s a one-day sprint to land the biggest king that will lead to the biggest prize. Boats in the event can’t enter the water before 5 a.m. and must be in line to weigh their catch by 5:30 p.m. Friday.

Tournament chairman Mel Hammock said that turning two days of fishing into one has been well received. The GJKT cut it down to help anglers keep their expenses in check. The cost of gas remains high, especially for captains who run offshore for two full days. This year, they’ll just have to do one day, which Hammock said has gone over well.

“It’s been really pretty favorable. As a matter of fact, I was just talking with another fisherman that came in a little while ago and he loved the fact that we shortened it by one day, kind of keeps everybody in the game,” Hammock said. “And that’s what he said, it cuts back on a lot of his expenses, you know, because everything’s up as we know. So, it gives him a chance to save a little bit and still be involved and be in the game.”

Just because there’s only one day of fishing in the general tournament doesn’t mean things will quiet down after anglers weigh their fish Friday. Hammock said the event is incorporating more peripheral entertainment into tournament weekend. Outside of the junior angler offshore tournament Saturday, the GJKT will have a cornhole competition going on (it is offering both backyard and advanced divisions) and fireworks wrapping things up on Saturday night after the awards ceremony.

“Families have been coming out. We’ve had great activities out here,” Hammock said. “It gives a lot of our businesses in the area good exposure, and just pulls together a great event for everybody to come and enjoy.”

Outside of the change to a one-day general tournament, the GJKT is also allowing anglers to transport their catch to the scales by vehicle this year instead of by boat, should captains choose that option. Driving a catch to the boat ramp by car is cheaper than it is by vessel, so the GJKT elected to give that method a try this year as another way to help anglers cut expenses. Catches will need to be checked in at the tournament site and then carried to the tagging table and scales by a member of the crew.

The tournament still features elite-level prizes.

The captain of the winning boat will receive a prize package estimated at $160,000, a combination that includes a Contender 25T boat with Yamaha twin 150 engines and an Ameritrail trailer. The main tournament pays out $198,200 in prizes across the top 20 spots. The aggregate winner takes a $12,000 prize, with payouts totaling $43,300 for the top 20 spots.

About the Author:

Justin Barney joined News4Jax in February 2019, but he’s been covering sports on the First Coast for more than 20 years.