After several tough years in the saltwater fishing tournament world, the Southern Kingfish Association (SKA) closes it’s doors. With escalating costs and dwindling participation and sponsorships, it comes as no surprise.
In the good ol’ days, you could put 200 gallons of gas in your offshore boats for $300 or less. You could afford to spend another $240 on live Blue Runners and Goggle Eyes and it was still affordable for a team of average Joes to compete.
Now with 200 gallons of marine fuel costing $1,000 or more, it’s not feasible for those of us that aren’t making a killing to afford the entry fees, bait, gas, and not to mention the time off of work to pre-fish a tournament.
This is a sad day in the fishing world. There has been plenty of griping over the years about the way the SKA was operated, but now it is pointless as there will be no SKA.
In the email below, Jack Holmes announces the closure and the liquidation of all of the organizations assets.
After 23 years of successfully producing the Mercury Tournament Trail and of late the Yamaha Professional Kingfish Tour, management and the SKA Board of Directors have decided to shut down the trails. This wasn’t an easy decision.
As most of you know our numbers have dwindled over the past four years and it’s very hard in most areas to find enough events to make the trail competitive. Sponsors have been dropping out of saltwater fishing, cutting contract monies and advertising, and even end-of-the-year prizes. We all know how expensive our sport has become. Boats cost more, fuel prices are way up with no sign of relief, and our costs to operate have certainly increased.
Sometime in April we will be liquidating the assets. Trucks, trailers, and merchandise will be offered for sale. We will keep you posted on the date.
We have been actively looking for someone in the industry, a group, or an individual to purchase the SKA and bring new life and money into the sport but to no avail. In fact, some of our sponsors have even cut their sponsorship dollars further hindering our progress, which helped in our decision.
We will begin in April to return membership monies that we have received from members who elected to join early. We will deduct a portion of it for costs of the membership packet and mailing. We will also send letters immediately to all of the tournaments who relied on our sanction to bring fisher people to their events, which I’m sure will impact the sport. Events we have produced for philanthropic organizations will not be produced by us.
We certainly thank you for your support over the years. We fully understand how important the trail has been to you and your families over the years. We will certainly miss the lifestyle.
Good luck in your fishing endeavors.
Hopefully a leaner tournament trail will rise from the ashes of the SKA and provide the everyday saltwater angler the opportunity to have a fun, affordable, competition to enjoy.
Capt. TJ Cheek