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A busy season awaits competitive anglers in 2005

This will be a busy year for competitive anglers. Many tournaments have been added for amateurs and professionals.

Doyce Mathis of Treasure Island Charities is adding two tournaments to his schedule: an offshore three-species tournament in May and a grouper tournament in August.

"Originally we had the new tournament in May as a kingfish tournament but then changed it to an offshore tournament because we felt anglers were getting burnt out on kings," Mathis said.

Treasure Island Charities has not changed the four Southern Kingfish Association tournaments in April and November. For more tournament see www.treasureislandcharities.com or call (727) 363-0071.

The Old Salt Fishing Club has seven tournaments including its enormous spring and fall King of the Beach kingfish tournaments. New this year is an inshore/offshore event in September. The club tried to hold this event last year but postponed it because of hurricanes.

The club's first contest will be the Johnny Keller Inshore Tournament on January 30. Speckled trout, flounder, grouper and sheepshead are the targets. Go to www.oldsaltfishingclub.com for more dates and information.

Out of Billy's Stone Crab in Tierra Verde, look for the Big Mack Attack tournaments in May and October for Spanish mackerel, and the Randy Keys Kingfish Classics in April and October.

Keeping with tradition, Moore will host the Thanksgiving Kingfish Shootout on Thanksgiving weekend. Call Billy Moore at (727) 542-3900.

For more SKA, there is another Division 6 event April 15-17 at the Harbor View Center in Clearwater. Contact the SKA at (904) 819-0360.

On the professional circuit, FLW Outdoors kicks off its FLW Redfish Series this spring. The series has two divisions _ East and West _ with each having four two-day, two-person-team events. Each event has a $200,000 purse with a first-place payout up to $50,000. At the end of the series, leading teams from both divisions compete in a no-fee championship in Mobile, Ala., for a first prize of $100,000.

"This quality redfish series was designed for the working guy who can't spend a lot of time away from his job," said Dan Grimes, director of saltwater operations for FLW Outdoors. "Since all the venues are close together, we expect to get 150 entries for each event. And simply put, big purses draw the best and more popular teams".

Grimes isn't too far of base. Teams from other professional redfish tours were quick to point out that the FLW purses are a huge draw, especially with the price today for a competitive boat, fuel, hotels, food and all expenses in competing at a professional level. Entry fee for each event is $1,500.

The East is the state of Florida, and the four events will be at Sarasota on March 4-5; Mayport on April 29-30; Charlotte Harbor on July 22-23; and Titusville on August 19-20. The FLW Redfish Series Championship will be October 27-29.

To submit information on events, please call Rick Frazier at (727) 510-4376 or email him at captainrickluckydawg.com.

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