By DINA ARÉVALO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
On the heels of one of the Laguna Madre’s biggest events, TIFT, comes a fishing event all its own: the Ladies Kingfish Tournament. Entering its 34th year, the all-women’s bay and offshore fishing tourney is expected to draw record participation.
“Our pre-registered numbers are up from last year and we’re expecting a great weekend,” said South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce Marketing Director Dianna Harvill.
“It has become now a family tradition. We have grandmothers, mothers and granddaughters that are fishing in the tournament now,” Harvill said, adding that LKT, as the tournament is known, was the first all-women’s tournament in Texas. “There was a group of women that came down here with their husbands who fished, and they decided to start a tournament. And it was actually originally called the Yellow Rose Tournament,” she said.
Teams of lady anglers will vie for various trophies in the tournament’s two divisions. In the Bay Division, trophies will be awarded for the largest catches of redfish, trout and flounder, according to the LKT website. The Offshore Division consists of kingfish, bonito, blackfin tuna and dolphin fish categories.
Trophies will be awarded to the top four finishers in each category. Grand Champion Bay and Grand Champion Offshore trophies will also be awarded.
This year, the tourney is trying something different, Harvill said. In years past, anglers often created custom t-shirts that displayed team names or logos. Harvill said a new prize will be awarded to the team with the best shirt. “We decided to just add a little something to it, to registration on Friday night. We’re actually going to have a contest,” she said, speaking of the t-shirts.
The tournament begins at the South Padre Island Convention Centre on Friday. Registration will run from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fishing starts bright and early at 6:30 a.m. on Saturday at Sea Ranch Marina II on the south end of the Island. Weigh in for the Bay Division will be from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., and from 2:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the Offshore Division.
Asked what makes LKT special, Harvill said it was the anglers. “After all these years, … is just seeing the anglers come back year after year after year,” she said.
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