The Islamorada Charter Boat Association’s 7th Annual Islamorada Dolphin Tournament hosted 82 anglers in the quest for three big fish July 11 – 12. The unique format had boats entering as teams with the combined weight of three Dolphin determining the winners. Only two fish could be weighed per day but it took three to win.
After the first day of weigh-ins at Smuggler’s Cove, Hey Papa with Captain Justin Matson and anglers Jinx and Hank Kochan from Sea Girt, N.J.; Ellie Leopold, Jordon Wolk, and Mark Toledo from Tavernier, Fla.; and Eric Ehlers from Islamorada Fla. were in the lead. Ellie Leopold’s 42.6 pound bull dolphin would be the biggest fish weighed in during the two days of fishing.
The tide would turn on day two for Captain Brian Cone’s Conetagious. Angler Travis Bennett of Tavernier, Fla., would catch the largest dolphin on an outboard boat, a 42.5 pound bull earning him an extra thousand dollars sponsored by Caribee Boat Sales and Yamaha Outboards. Fishing with fellow anglers Don DeLeon from Goulds, Fla., Rob DeLeon from Sorrento Fla., and Mike Bennett of Miami, the team would also weigh in a 37.6 pounder. Added to their largest fish from Saturday, a 32 pounder, they caught a record-setting three fish total of 112.1 pounds, which landed them in the winners circle.
Hey Papa would weigh in their biggest fish on day two, a 29 pounder. Added to the 75.4 pounds from day one, the team total would take second place with 104.4 pounds. Rezkill would take third place with fish weighing 32.3, 30.5, and 27.9 for a total of 90.7 pounds. Anglers Ryan Smith and Andre LimSang of Miami were awarded a check for $1,500.00, a beautiful King Sailfish trophy sponsored by Barefoot Baits, gift certificates from local businesses and other fishing goodies.
“We had great fishing weather and the fish cooperated” commented tournament director Dianne Harbaugh. “We were fortunate to catch some of the biggest fish in the tournaments this year. All the teams had a great time and Smugglers Cove Restaurant, Resort and Marina did a fantastic job for us.”