MADEIRA BEACH — The Old Salt 26th Annual Spring King of the Beach Kingfish Tournament is underway and continues through May 4.
Called “the best kingfish tournament in the U.S.,” the event features competitive fishing teams from the Southeastern United States and beyond competing for prizes, including $60,000 for first place. The total payout is $225,000. It is open to the public.
A variety of activities are included with the tournament at the Madeira Beach Recreation Complex, 200 Rex Place. Ten food vendors will participate. Also on site will be a boat showcase, kids play zone and more than 50 marine and art vendors. For information about free parking, visit oldsaltfishing.org.
On Friday, May 3, a waterfront party and kids fishing slam will be held. The first 500 children on the field will get rod and reels and goody bags. As of about a week ago, 400 kids had registered.
On Saturday, May 4, activities include tournament fishing, weigh in and the presentation of awards. Gates open at 2 p.m. and weigh-in line opens at 3 p.m. and closes at 5 p.m. Live music follows the weigh-in and the awards ceremony will start at 8:30 p.m. The event ends at 11 p.m.
The tournament features 30 mile boundaries, six divisions and 63 paid places and offers competitive opportunities for anglers across the spectrum as they fish for king mackerel and Spanish mackerel.
“The Old Salt King of the Beach is perhaps the oldest, and absolutely the richest, Kingfish tournament in the United States,” the tournament website says.
The tournament is hosted by the Old Salt Fishing Foundation, a 45-year-old, nonprofit, fishing organization headquartered in Madeira Beach. The foundation serves anglers with a variety of youth and family programs, competitive fishing tournaments and angler advocacy efforts.
In the past 10 years, Old Salt has donated in excess of $1 million dollars to deserving regional charities, its website says.