The Islamorada Winter Classic kicked off on February 27th with a fabulous silent auction and hors d’oeuvres on the beach at the Lorelei Restaurant. 15 anglers would fish as teams for 9 species of fish on the ocean side of US 1. The Islamorada Fishing Classic Series utilizes a format of Guided and Non- Guided divisions, as well as a Junior and teen division for most releases. Over the course of two days of fishing, they released 27 fish. Anglers Kenny Raspberry, Zachery Wolf, Jake and Shai Cohen, and Ryan McKay all from Cooper City Florida, would take home Grand Champion Honors in the Team Most Releases Non-Guided division. Fishing aboard their boat, The Sandy Wolf, the team released 12 fish including 2 Sailfish, 5 Barracuda, 2 Mackerel, 1 Dolphin, and 2 Snapper. In the Guided division, aboard the Out of the Blue, Captain Todd Monson led anglers Dustin and Heath Beard of Midland, Texas to top honors with 5 Sailfish, 5 Barracuda, and 1 Tuna, for a total of 11 releases.
At the end of the first day, The Sandy Wolf took home the Lobster Trap Art trophy for the Most Releases in the Non-Guided division with a total of 7 releases. Tackle Center of Islamorada anglers, Nick and Xander Ewald, Travis Butters, Donny Lange, and Jack Brown, all from Tavernier Florida, released 4 snapper and were awarded Team Most Releases Day 1 in the Guided division. This team also placed as Grand Champion Runner Up.
Windy conditions did not deter the anglers of the Sandy Wolf on day 2. The team released another 5 fish and took home Team Most Releases Day 2 Non-Guided. Captain Todd Monson’s charter boat, Out of the Blue, would lead anglers Dustin and Heath Beard Midland to 8 releases and take home Day 2 honors in the Guided division.
The Lobster Trap Art Gallery in Islamorada supplied amazing trophies for all of the winners. Teen angler, Heath Beard, landed the largest snapper, an 8.1 pound Mutton. His dad, Dustin Beard, weighed the largest Tuna, at 11.5 pounds. Junior angler Xander Ewald, 6 years old, was awarded Most Releases in his division and his fishing partner, Jack Brown, age 5, was the runner up. In the Teen division, Heath Beard was awarded top honors in the Guided division with 5 releases. Teen angler, Kenny Raspberry, released 8 fish, which beat out his fishing partner, Shai Cohen for top teen in the Non- Guided division. Shai took home Runner Up. While on a winning streak, Kenny also won the 50/50 raffle.
Tournament Director, Dianne Harbaugh, founded the Islamorada Classic Series as tournaments devoted to promote fishing for anglers of all ages. The tournaments use combination of weight and release points that encourages responsible utilization of our resources. The tournament committee would like to thank The Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar for the exceptional food and service, The Lobster Trap Art Gallery for a spectacular array of awards, and everyone who participated in the 2015 Winter Classic. Proceeds from the tournament will benefit The Good Health Clinic and Voices for the Florida Keys Children. Please join us for the Islamorada Spring Classic, April 25th and 26th, where anglers will be fishing for 9 species on the bay side of US 1. For more information, visit our website: http://www.islamoradaclassic.com/