Ponte Vedra local Monica Stam won the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament’s Lady Angler competition with a 39.8-pound fish after an 18-year-old participant voluntarily forfeited her first-place prize because she didn't catch the winning fish herself.
"I didn't know I had won until this morning,” Stam said. “I was happy with second. I couldn't believe it. I still can't believe it.”
Stam has been fishing for 12 years, but this is the first time she's "ever come close to Lady Angler.”
"It's a thrill," she said.
Despite a momentary delay due to inclement weather, Stam posed on-stage for photographs and claimed her prize money before friends and family at the Greater Jacksonville Kingfish Tournament awards ceremony. Chairman Steve Thompson moderated the event.
Other winners included Sage Cree, who won the Redfish General Spots tournament after reeling in a beauty with 14 total spots. Cree said she would be donating her prize money to the Jacksonville School for Autism.
Tyler Patterson reeled in the largest kingfish at 55 pounds.
"I've been in this since I've been 10; this is probably my 22nd Greater Jax," he said. The 2017 competition was the first time Patterson earned first place.
Chip Crabtree, who won the Single Engine tournament, revealed that it takes preparation, significant effort, and many man hours behind the scenes to win a fishing competition. Crabtree honored his late brother with the name of his boat.
"We named [the boat] 'Vamoose,' after my brother's boat who used to fish in the tournament for years," he said. "He just passed away in April so it was a family tribute to bring the boat name back, and it was awesome."
The Single Engine winner said he would use his prize money to "pay down" his boat and perhaps purchase a bigger one.
Other first-place finishers included Jr. Angler Dock winner, Gavin Altman; Redfish Tournament Kayak winner, Timothy Thurman; Wahoo winner, Eddie Bennett; Cobia winner, Bill Lynch; Traveling Angler winner, Greg Samuel; and Aggregate winner Dennis Sergent of the “D-Breef” boat.