One of the largest Kingfish-Dolphin-Wahoo fishing tournaments in Florida returns to Riviera Beach Marina next month. The 12th annual Palm Beach County KDW Classic is set for Saturday, May 31, 2014. The event is produced by the West Palm Beach Fishing Club (WPBFC) and almost always attracts over 200 boats and nearly 1,000 anglers each year. The Classic is a very family & friends oriented event offering a wide range of prizes for adults and kids. Even if you don’t catch a fish you can win money and awesome prizes. The format makes it exciting for all participants, especially kids. “Everyone seems to really enjoy how we produce the event. The captain’s meeting, the weigh-in and the awards party are all very entertaining. We even have an online photo contest. Photos can be submitted the week of the tournament at #KDWCLASSIC,” said Pete Schulz of Fishing Headquarters in Jupiter who is chairman of the WPBFC and serves as the tournament weigh-master.
Broad based support from sponsors and an ongoing commitment to give something back to the local community are other reasons why the KDW Classic continues down a successful path. Past tournament proceeds have been used to create new artificial reefs, install reef saving mooring buoys, support the City of Riviera Beach scholarship fund and aid the annual Kid’s Fishing Day program produced by the Fishing Club’s charitable affiliate, the Palm Beach County Fishing Foundation.
The Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County has been the KDW Classic’s presenting sponsor since the beginning. Numerous other sponsors participate in the event by underwriting the cash awards, providing raffle items and other tournament giveaways. Over $32,000 in guaranteed cash prizes, regardless of the number of boats entered, and more than $30,000 in raffle items and trophies are up for grabs. The tournament prize format is intentionally designed to spread the wealth. Prize-winning paychecks are offered eight places deep for kingfish, dolphin & wahoo, and ten places deep for junior anglers. “Our cash award sponsors make that happen,” said Tournament Committee member Bud Tyska of Tuppen’s Marine & Tackle. “Luck is another factor that is part of our tournament philosophy. The Classic’s ‘Big Fish Wins’ format keeps luck a significant part of the winning formula. “Anybody can luck into that one big fish. Plus, by not offering aggregate catch awards we’re not putting as many fish on the dock. We don’t want to promote excessive fishing practices,” continued Tyska who also emphasized how important the partnerships with the City of Riviera Beach, the Marine Industries Association and other Classic sponsors has been to the success of the tournament. “It’s an ideal event to showcase the improvements taking place at the Riviera Beach Marina.”
A change in the rules this year will allow participants to visually check out and depart from one of three inlets: Jupiter, Palm Beach or Boynton. “Our intention is to make the event more convenient for participants. If they have fish to weigh they will still need to visually check back in with the committee boat inside Palm Beach Inlet at the end of the day,” said Schulz.
There are plenty of other ways to win in the KDW Classic. For example, every registered boat is eligible for significant prizes in the KDW Classic Treasure Chest, which are five identical prize packs valued at over $1,000. All junior anglers are eligible for one of the Junior Treasure Chest prizes, 15 $100 bills. If that wasn’t enough, every boat entered in the tournament is eligible for the $2,000 "Hit the Jackpot!" cash prize that is awarded by a randomly drawn boat number. The only catch is you must be present at the awards party and must show your official boat number to collect the prize. The male and female angler lucky enough to weigh-in the heaviest fish of the tournament will be crowned the King & Queen of the Classic by the Marine Industries Association of Palm Beach County. While there is no additional cash award for this honor, there certainly is coveted bragging rights to the title, which includes the winners names being added to the perpetual Palm Beach County KDW Classic trophy. Last year angler James Witt fishing aboard Witt’s End was crowned the King of the Classic. Witt landed the heaviest fish of the tournament, a new tournament record dolphin that tipped the scales at 57.6 pounds. The record catch earned him not only the $3,000 first place Dolphin award, but also the $1,000 Ande Monofilament Big Fish Bonus. Sherri Beswick boated a 25.8-pound kingfish fishing aboard Spiced Rum III, earning last year’s Queen of the Classic honors. Young Mikayla Lamb was the top junior angler with a 22.2-pound kingfish.
“The West Palm Beach Fishing Club prides itself on its unique role and active involvement in the community. With the Palm Beach County KDW Classic we are committed to producing a family oriented, first class event that benefits our area in many ways,” said Pete Schulz. Anglers can register for the tournament online at www.kdwclassic.com.
Prior to May 22, the tournament entry fee is $175 for WPBFC members and tenants at Riviera Beach Marina, New Port Cove, Old Port Cove, North Palm Beach Marina and the Palm Beach Yacht Center. For all others the early entry fee is $200 per boat if paid by May 22. After May 22, all boat entries are $275. For additional tournament information, call the WPBFC at 561-832-6780.