40th Annual Ladies Kingfish Tournament honors winners

Courtesy photo

The South Padre Island Chamber of Commerce welcomed anglers, captains and their families to the 40th Annual Ladies Kingfish Tournament that began Aug. 6 on South Padre Island.

After a weekend of competitive fishing, the tournament crowned its winners during an awards ceremony Sunday, Aug. 8, which brought anglers and their families back together to recognize those who took top prizes.

Winning anglers received canvas prints featuring the tournament artwork designed by SPI Chamber staff member Dianna L. Harvill.

Trophies were also awarded for Grand Champion Bay Division, Grand Champion Offshore Division and the LKT Legacy Award.

This year’s bay grand champion was Sandra Martinez from Edinburg. Sandra brought in all three species (Redfish, Trout and Flounder) for a total weight of 11.65 pounds. She was fishing with Captain Hector Torres on the Las Laguna Madres.

Sofia Baldree from McAllen walked away with the Offshore Championship when she brought in all three species (Bonito, Dorado and Blackfin Tuna) for a total weight of 45.1 pounds.

In 2019 the tournament planning committee decided to add some excitement to the tournament, and created the “Queen of the Kings”.

The tournament continues to be divided into two divisions, Bay and Offshore, but the Kingfish, which had previously only been sought after by anglers in the offshore division, was removed from the offshore division, and both offshore and bay are now eligible to fish for the Kingfish, and vie for the coveted title of Queen of the Kings.

Lisa Richardson from Port Mansfield was named Queen of the Kings with her 32.4 pounds and 47-1/4 inches long Kingfish. Lisa was fishing on the Reel Obsession with Captain Stuart Richardson.

First Runner-up went to Vicki Hinojosa from McAllen, fishing on the Bamm Bamm with Captain Johnnie Zittle.

Second Runner-up was Jaclyn Marroquin from Weslaco, fishing with Captain Richie Garza on the Hot Shot.

The LKT Legacy Award, created in memory of Ann Wells by her daughter Vicki Lambert and granddaughter Jordan Luera, was awarded to Sylvia Wernecke. Ann Wells fished LKT for 35 years prior to her death in 2017.

The award was started in 2017 as the Angler Annie Award, and was presented to Maria Pinkerton. In 2018 the name was changed to the LKT Legacy Award and was presented to Sandra Veale.

Kelsey Wells Garcia received the award in 2019, and no award was presented in 2020 due to the cancellation of the event.

In keeping with the LKT Planning Committee’s commitment to educate our future lady anglers about the joy of fishing and about conversation; the LKT Youth Division was created this year. All young ladies age 12 on August 7th (fishing day) or younger, entered in the Youth Division. Anglers in the Youth Division fished in the Bay Division for Redfish, Trout or Flounder and in the Offshore Division for Blackfin Tuna, Bonito or Dolphin. First Place trophies are awarded in each fish category. The committee looks forward to this new division growing in the years to come as the mothers and grandmothers of LKT begins new family traditions.

Julianne Gonzalez from Edinburg, was fishing in the Bay Division and brought in a 6.85 pound Redfish to win first place. Julianne was fishing with Captain Xavier Villalobas on the XD Fishing Team. Madison Aikman from Bayview, TX was fishing in the Offshore Division and brought in a 4.05 pound Bonito to win first place. Madison was fishing on the Miss Guided with Captain Mark Villarreal. Congratulations to both of these young ladies, and we look forward to watching you grow up fishing LKT!

Mark your calendar for the 41st Annual Ladies Kingfish Tournament scheduled for Aug. 12-14, 2022, and start your own Island tradition.