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Fishing, Family and Boundless Fun at the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament

Featuring beautiful year-round weather, pristine quartz beaches and world class attractions, Jacksonville, Florida, is the ultimate location for your next big summer excursion.


Perched on the picture perfect northeast coast of Florida, Jacksonville is just waiting to help you realize your dream vacation. This city shines as a travel destination due to it’s vibrant atmosphere and vast assortment of fun things to do outdoors. The white sand beaches here are second to none and you’ll love locations like Jacksonville Beach and Atlantic Beach. At the beaches, you’ll encounter fully outfitted public facilities, a clean overall environment and stunning views nearly everywhere you look. Take advantage of the great weather and beautiful beaches and try some of the local watersports. Outfitters and guides can take you on fishing trips, kayaking and boat tours, diving expeditions and so much more. If you're traveling with the family, Jacksonville features great attractions like the Museum of Science and History and the Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens. This city also loves to gather and celebrate with fun and vibrant community events like the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament.


Sailing into its 36th year, the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament has established itself as a can’t-miss summer experience. This unique event takes a big fishing tournament and combines it with a family friendly festival. The tournament is a local tradition and people compete in categories including: The General Tournament, Junior Tournament, Dock Fishing and Red Fish. The General Tournament will have over 300 teams competing for the ultimate prize. Aside from the fishing event you’ll also find a food festival, Kingfish Boutique (event merchandise), large boat display and numerous exhibitors. With so much to offer, it will be difficult not to have a blast at the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament. got the chance to interview Steve Thompson, Tournament Chariman for the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament, to talk about this great fishing event.


RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.

ST: This year marks the 36th anniversary of the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament (GJKT). We are expecting over 300 boats this year, with an average of three to four team members per boat. Plus, we’ll have all the kids and parents from all of our Kids Dock Tournaments that we hold throughout the week.


RAL: What is the typical demographic makeup of the event?

ST: We see everyone at the festival. Our Junior Angler Tournament brings in children of various ages, the Ladies Division attracts a large number of women and the open tournament attracts people of all ages. We are considered one of the longest running and largest kingfish tournaments that you’ll find anywhere.


RAL: What makes this event unique?

ST: Out tournament is unique because anyone in any size boat can win. In addition, since we time it with The Annual Run of the Kingfish, it really adds another level of excitement to our event.


RAL: What can I expect as an attendee?

ST: We have a lot going on at this year's tournament. There will be a kids zone loaded with fun activities and games. Our seafood festival will feature some of the best seafood dishes from the city. We will have lots of different vendors from the marina industry and more from outside the industry. Plus, you get to watch a parade of high dollar boats weigh in at Giant Kings.


RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?

ST: Yes, the mayor usually pays a visit. Sometimes players from the Jaguars stop by and you never know who you might bump into. We will have live entertainment on Saturday night after the weigh in closes.


RAL: What is the overall environment like?

ST: It’s beach casual! We offer a clean family friendly environment along the beautiful shore of Sisters Creek.


RAL: What can an attendee expect to find for local lodging?

ST: Holiday Inn at Blount Island gives us a discount for participants. They are literally just down the road from the park, at 295 and Heckscher Dr.


RAL: What does the event mean to the community?

ST: It’s a great week long family affair. Jacksonville Marine Charities, Inc is the 501c(3) organization behind the The GJKT. We use the proceeds to support marine science research, preservation, conservation and education. The GJKT itself remains Jacksonville Marine Charities greatest gift to the First Coast community.


RAL: Does this event drive business to your local economy?

ST: Absolutely, When you have hundreds of boats and teams coming from out of town, it's bound to make a difference. In the past we have had as many as 10 different states represented here. All the different teams will need lodging and they buy various supplies at local shops. Participants are buying everything from gas and repairs to food.  


RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community?

ST: Yes, the tournament is run through Jacksonville Marine Charities, who in turn, help support charities all over the North Florida area. A couple charities that benefit include Safe Harbor Boys Home and Jacksonville University's Marine Science Program, amongst a host of others.


RAL: Why should people come to your event?

ST: The tournament is a great event on its own, but for a visitor that wanted to spend more time here in the area, we have a host of activities for families. Just to the north we have one of the top state parks anywhere in Little Talbot Island State Park. For those who want to spend time on the beach, we have the world famous Jacksonville beaches including Neptune, Atlantic and Ponte Vedra. Less than an hour north, we have Fernandina (a historic city) and Amelia Island (a luxury resort island getaway) and less than an hour south is the nation's oldest city of St. Augustine. Tours, tourist attractions, dining and just about everything else awaits the traveler here in Jacksonville!

For more information about the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament, please visit their website.