The 38th Annual Islamorada Bartenders Sailfish Open kicked off with great food and fun at the Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar. 45 anglers, who are bartenders or restaurant employees representing 11 different bars, released 11 Sailfish on February 11th. With lines in at 8:30 on a windy day with scattered showers, it took only 11 minutes before the Cloud Nine hooked up to a sailfish. Chef Michael’s angler Jonathan Cruciger would release the fish in just 4 minutes winning a bottle of champagne from the Trading Post and a gift certificate to Whale Harbor/Hog Heaven. The next release would go to Barbara Kleinkauf from Robbie’s fishing aboard the Crisdel. Jonathan,on the Cloud Nine, would release another fish at 9:19 securing the team first place with 2 fish.
Although fishing was slow the Esperanza fishing the crew from Green Turtle and Kaiyo would release two fish one for Diane Comeforo and the second release for Katie Brennan putting them in second on time behind the Cloud Nine. Shortly after noon the Last Dance hooked a double header. Butch Comeforo and Erica Rogers would each release a sail giving the Ocean View Sports Pub. (O.V.) third place on time. Charlie Beckerman fishing on the Dirty Fin with the gang from the Lobster Crawl released a sail. Then Danielle from the Islander released her first ever sailfish aboard the Reel McCoy. The next release would also be the anglers first, caught by Shaggy from the Lorelei. The final fish of the day would go to Juan Mayo from Skippers Dockside.
At the end of the day Chef Michaels would clean house. Cloud Nine’s Captain Greg Eklund with mates Erik Ehlers and Jake Turek would take home top captain and mate awards. Angler Jonathan Cruciger was awarded a beautiful David Wirth circle hook for the high point angler trophy as well as the JayAnna Cohan founder’s award and received a check for $500.00 sponsored by Dillion’s Pub. The team including Laura Burns, David Kramer, Noah Bitton, Jessica Woodall and Ashli Kristin would take home the Bartenders Sailfish Open perpetual trophy to hang on the wall for one year along with a check for $1000.00 in memory of Trapper John a long time participant of the tournament.
Beautifully designed Jimmy Mac bar trophies would go to second place Green Turtle/Kaiyo with 2 releases and 3rd place Ocean View Pub with 2 releases on time. The 2nd place angler Lobster Trap Art trophy went to Barbara Kleinkauf from Robbies with one release on time. There were also awards for third place angler Diane Comeforo and fourth place angler Katie Brennan both from Green Turtle/Kaiyo The hard luck bucket of booze from Martini’s liquor of Islamorada was awarded to Lobster Crawl fishing aboard the Dirty fin who lost not only lost sailfish throughout the day but also lost an engine.
The Lorelei treated anglers to a fabulous kick off and awards ceremony on the beach. “My favorite part of this tournament is that we have so many anglers who catch and release their first sailfish” stated tournament director Dianne Harbaugh. “The reason Jayanna Cohan started this tournament was because she loved to sailfish and she wanted others to have the same opportunity. I would like to extend a special thank you to all the local businesses who helped to support this event forour hard working bar and restaurant employees!”