Garmin recently caught up with the Kingsmen Fishing Team, winner of the 2017 Suncoast Kingfish Classic. Interested in what they are running on their boat or how they caught the winning fish? Hear from the captain himself, Jack Vasilaros.
“There is a super cool story behind the catch. This is the first tournament my brother and I have ever fished without any extra crew on the boat. Typically, our team consists of Dr. Jacob Choi, and Peyton Powers, but Dr. Choi had a wedding to attend in South Carolina and Peyton had a conflicting sailfish tournament he was fishing with Rob Desmond on the Day Sea. Additionally, my brother said a prayer because he had always wanted to see a kingfish skyrocket.
“Our morning started out terrible, but we refused to give up. When we arrived to the area we wanted to fish, there were almost 20 boats trolling. I hate fishing with a crowd, but we knew we couldn’t make a move and pass up the morning bite, so we stuck it out for a few hours. It was hard watching a few boats catch fish around us without a single bite, but we stayed positive. The worst thing you can do in a tournament is have what I call ‘NFA’ (negative fishing attitude). I truthfully believe in PFA!
“When the tide slacked out, we went inshore to net some fresh silver mullet before we went to an area we had seen some mackerel holding the day before. When we came across this little pod of bait all to ourselves, my brother and I both smiled and said to each other that this was going to be it. Unfortunately, we fished for hours without a bite, but we kept on grinding it out and made sure we always had fresh baits in the water. It wasn’t until late afternoon that the big fish skied on our long line.
“The fish skyrocketed over 25 feet out of the water on our surface bait. My little brother started screaming, and at that point we knew we had a huge fish on the line. Not only did my brother’s dream come true, but it was the biggest fish either one of us had ever scaled in a tournament, and it’s a memory we both will never forget!
“I want to thank Ryan Farner for putting on an incredible tournament, and all the sponsors like Garmin, Seahorse downriggers, Tito’s Vodka, Gator’s and all the other sponsors and people who came out and supported the event to make this memory with my little brother possible.”
Kingsmen Fishing Team sports a full line-up of Garmin electronics including a GPSMAP 8215 MFD, Meteor 300, GHP Reactor autopilot with SmartPump, and GMR 1224 xHD2 open array radar. Capt. Jack explains how he used his chartplotters to help Kingsmen take the title at the Suncoast Kingfish Classic…
“I run it [GPSMAP 8215] on split-screen with the fishing chart and SideVü. This allowed me to watch the areas of bottom I have already worked, while still being able to locate and mark new bait pods that I had not yet trolled over. I also love the new GHP Reactor autopilot with SmartPump. Being that it was just my brother and I fishing, I was able to use the heading hold feature when we hooked our fish so my brother could help clear lines and leave the wheel. This autopilot has some amazing trolling features. Additionally, unlike most autopilots that do not work well when it’s rough, the Garmin GHP Reactor’s performance in choppy sea conditions is absolutely incredible with its ability to keep the boat on a straight course.”
Congratulations to the Kingsmen Fishing Team on their two-man victory! You can find them on Instagram and also be sure to like their Facebook page. Garmin was a featured sponsor of the 2017 Suncoast Kingfish Classic – the longest running King Mackerel Tournament on the West Coast of Florida. For more information about the Suncoast Kingfish Classic check out their site here.