OKALOOSA ISLAND, Fla. (WKRG) — Okaloosa Island Pier regular Philip Morris snagged a bragging right Sunday afternoon reeling in the first King Mackerel for the 2022 season.

The first angler to snag a king mackerel wins a free annual fishing pass for the pier.

Morris caught the 23.4-pound fish Sunday afternoon, just the second day of the annual Spring Saltwater Showdown tournament.

“Man nothing beats the first fish of the year, especially since it was worth a annual admission pass for the pier.  Best part about fishing out here at the pier is being able to come out here and fish with the other local anglers that I consider FAMILY.  Special thanks to Isaac for gaffing the fish for me, it was a clean stick and it couldn’t of happened any better! “

Philip Morris

General manager Eric Brown said there have been close calls in recent weeks. Reeling in the first King Mackrel of the season is always a big-time event on the island.

The First King Mackerel is always exciting for us, it really kickstarts our season. We have had dozens of missed opportunities over the last few weeks, so it was bound to happen any day!  We love the fact one of our die hard local anglers, Phil was able to land it!  It was even better that this fish was landed at the start of our spring mackerel tournament that we have Partnered with Half Hitch Tackle (Destin) with., details on that on our Facebook page.   There is still one annual pass bounty left to be claimed, and that’s the unicorn for pier fisherman, COBIA! 

Eric Brown, General Manager

Brown said Morris almost brought up two king mackerels Sunday, but the second one got away.

Okaloosa Island Pier is open 7 days a week 5 am-12 am.

The Saltwater Showdown Tournament continues for seven weeks until May 21.

TOURNAMENT PRIZES

  • 1st Place King, Spanish and Pompano
    • $100 Half Hitch Gift Card plus Cash Award
  • 2nd Place King, Spanish and Pompano
    • $75 Half Hitch Gift Card plus Cash Award
  • 3rd Place King, Spanish and Pompano
    • $25 Half Hitch Gift Card plus Cash Award
  • Cash awards are 50,30,20 split of entries

Junior Division!!!

  • $25 Half Hitch Gift Card for Largest Jr Angler Fish each Saturday.
  • $200 Half Hitch Gift Card to Jr Angler drawing at the end.
  • Each Jr Angler that enters a fish gets one ticket in the hat each Saturday!