ST AUGUSTINE - Day one of two went well, despite a engine failure as Orange Park fisherman A.J. Proescher punched in for a big payday to win the Ancient City Game Fish Association Kingfish …
ST AUGUSTINE - Day one of two went well, despite a engine failure as Orange Park fisherman A.J. Proescher punched in for a big payday to win the Ancient City Game Fish Association Kingfish Challenge.
"Thankfully, it (suspected blown engine) was just a coil pack," said Proescher, 27, who captained his ship Kings Full to the tournament title on the weekend of June 29-30. "It was under warranty and (is) already fixed."
Proescher, who owns the Oakleaf Carpet Care business in Clay County, earned a $10,000 paycheck for his efforts and is looking ahead to a possible bigger payday in a week (June 15-20) at the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournnament.
"The winner gets a $100,000 boat," said Proescher. "It's a 24-foot Contender."
For Proescher and his crew; Zach Miller, Lonnie PItts and Chris Peters; all of Orange Park and all long-time fishing pals of nearly 10 years, the St. Augustine snag was a matter of nailing a big 52.74 pound Ribbon Fish on day one which wound up the second biggest fish of the weekend with a 53.38 pounder snagged on day two.
"The first one took about 20 minutes to land," said Proescher. "We had a 53-pounder in Jacksonvnille a few weeks ago."
Proescher, who pushed Kings Full to 60 miles south of Daytona Beach for his snares, survived the engine malfunction before returning to the waters and hooking a 46.54 pounder just 30 minutes later.
In the final results, Kings Full landed 99.28 pounds of fish while second place Head Hunter finished at 84.8 pounds. Head Hunter had fish of 38.90 and 45.90 for their two day bests; both coming on day one to make the top spot interesting.
Proescher has been fairly successful in his fishing endeavors with a $9,000 win in 2018 at the Fernandina Beach Kingfish with a 48.3 pound kingfish and a win at the El Cheapo Sheepshead Tourney in 2013 with an 11.7 pound Sheepshead.
"It's an expensive hobby," said Proescher. "We pay the expenses, then sign up for the next tournament. The catch for sure is the excitement."