The Southern Kingfish Association, pronounced dead three weeks ago, has received a big breath of life with the announcement that it has been purchased by the National Boat Owners Association, which plans to keep in place a tournament schedule it sanctions and hold a national championship this year.
NBOA is a family owned boat-insurance group based in Sarasota, Fla., that has been a major sponsor of SKA for five years and four years ago began producing the NBOA Gulf Coast Open to benefit the Make A Wish Foundation of Central and Northern Florida.
SKA members received emails on April 17 announcing the sale and NBOA plans, which included the appointment of Jim Butler and Erin Henshaw as SKA managers.
“It was a natural move to assume ownership of an entity we’ve worked so closely with over the years,” said Jeffrey Berndt, NBOA’s vice president. “We’re just happy we’re able to see this sport through and able to give the anglers and fellow sponsors what they want. Expect good things from the NBOA team. We’re excited and can’t wait to get started.”
Butler and Henshaw said they are looking forward to restoring the SKA to prominence and rebuilding membership.
“We are moving forward with the SKA divisional tournaments and plan to announce the final details on the 2014 Pro Tour within three weeks,” Butler said. “The Open and Small Boat Divisions will continue as they are for this year, since the season had already started.”
A championship tournament will be held this year, but NBOA is not ready to announce a location or date.
The first SKA tournament of the year is scheduled for May 8-11 in Pompano Beach, Fla. The first tournaments in the Carolinas are the Yellowfin-Yamaha Jolly Mon King Classic in Ocean Isle, N.C., June 20-22 and the James Island Yacht Club King Mackerel Tournament in James Island Aug. 1-2.
Capt. Brant McMullan of Ocean Isle, N.C., tournament director for the Jolly Mon and Fall Brawl King Classic and a former member of the SKA Board of Directors, thinks NBOA will be an excellent organization to continue the SKA.
“NBOA is a national organization that already has the infrastructure in place to house and run the SKA,” McMullan said. “I have some personal experience with them … and I find them to be sincere and caring people. Their experience in the marine-insurance business will be a plus as they already know many of the SKA fishermen and running their own tournament also gives them insight into tournament operations. I’m looking at this as an infusion of new energy into our sport and the SKA and look forward to working with them.”