Fishing is a highly skilful occupation and sport at all times, but few occasions challenge those skills quite as dramatically as a single species tournament like the Kirk Slam dolphin tournament. For those not quite up to speed with their fish species, this is not Flipper we are talking about, but mahi-mahi, a colourful fish with a lot of fight in it. It also makes for some mighty good eating.
Taking place from 14 to 15 April, the tournament will be hosted by the Barcadere Marina, with fishing taking place from 6am to 4pm daily. The weigh stations will be open from 4pm to 6pm, which makes that a perfect time for all those who want to see the day’s catch coming in.
This is the second year for the tournament, which will again be contested as a team tournament. The winner will be decided on the total combined weight of up to five dolphin per boat. However, this is where the tournament becomes tricky – at the weigh in at the end of day one, teams have to decide which, if any, of their catch for that day will count toward their total. So if a team decides that five of their day one catch should count toward their total, they will have no eligible spots left on day two.
Then again, if a team should choose to leave some of their day one catch out of the reckoning in the hope of landing a couple of big ones on day two and fail to add any dolphin, they will not be able to go back and include and fish from their day one catch to their total, so there is an element of calculated risk involved.
Fortunately, the team competition is not the only one to be contested, with prizes also on offer for the heaviest dolphin caught, as well as the heaviest dolphin caught by a junior angler and a lady angler. A fish caught on day two by a team that selected five fish from their day one catch to make up their team total will still count towards the heaviest catch competition.
The tournament also has a strong conservation focus, with a minimum weight of 15 pounds for a dolphin to be eligible for the tournament. Anglers are requested to release any dolphin that do not exceed the weight requirement, with a catch and release policy also in place for any other species as they are not eligible for the tournament. In fact, any angler bringing a billfish into the weigh station will forfeit any claim they might have had to any tournament prizes.
The entry fee for the event is $250 per boat, including a captain and up to three registered anglers, while additional anglers may be registered for $50 per angler. A boat entry allows all registered anglers to take compete in all the categories they are eligible for.
The kick off party, including registration and a captains’ meeting will take place on 13 April at Guy Harvey’s Grill from 6pm to 8pm.
The first prize for the tournament is $5,000, with the team finishing in runner-up position receiving $2,000, and $1,000 for the team in third place.
For more information, visit kirkslam.ky