Dad and son partner to win mackerel tournament

A 78.66-pound kingfish earned top honors for the Three of a Kind team at the Stock Island Marina Village King Mackerel Tournament that ended Saturday.

The team consisted of captain and angler Charles Cone of Newport, N.C., and his son Christopher Cone, stationed in Key West with the U.S. Coast Guard.

According to Charles Cone, he and his son were about 40 miles west of Key West in deep water when they caught the massive fish on the first of two fishing days.

"Once we saw it, we knew it was a big king. We played him for about 20 minutes and chased him down, and we gaffed him," said the elder Cone, who was named the tournament's top senior angler. "I couldn't get him into the boat myself, so my son helped me get him in."

Even then, the Cones didn't realize how big their catch really was. When they found out, they decided there was no need to fish on the tournament's second day.

"I didn't think there was any chance of anybody catching a fish bigger than 78 pounds," said Charles Cone, who intends to submit the fish for an International Game Fish Association record on 20-pound test line.

Second place went to team Lost Boys with a 67.3-pound kingfish. Skippered by Richard Cook of West Palm Beach, the team consisted of angler John Heiser of West Palm Beach and Mike Schoettle of Jupiter.

The Under Armour/Caliente team, led by Capt. Arik Bergerman of St. Petersburg, took third place with a 55.43-pound catch. Anglers included Randy Keys, Seth Funt, Jordan Funt, Jamey Caldwell and Dan Hamilton.

The tournament also featured a division for anglers fishing in boats 23 feet or shorter. Its winner was the team aboard Go West, guided by Capt. Chris Hall of Key West with a 51.3-pound fish. Second place went to Kat's Rival, skippered by Fred Langdon of Boca Raton with a 41.06-pounder. 

The tournament, a sanctioned divisional tournament of the Southern Kingfish Association, attracted 72 boats.