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Fishing Briefs

Fly anglers enjoy record catch during ‘sailfly’ tournament

Six years ago, even hardcore fly anglers thought Sandy Moret of Islamorada was crazy to hold a sailfish tournament for fly rodders. But Moret, a nine-time grand champion angler of the most prestigious fly tournaments in the Florida Keys, knew the Atlantic sailfish was a target worth pursuing.

After some years of so-so catches (and an inaugural year with no releases), the 2006 Islamorada Invitational Fly Rod Championship, called the “Sailfly” by locals, exploded with 11 hook-ups and nine releases, an especially impressive performance because contestants must use 16-pound tippet. The tournament took place Jan. 10-12 in the waters of Islamorada, Fla.

The championship went to Craig Reago, of Ponte Vedra, Fla., and Jeffrey Dickman, of Clemmons, N.C., fishing aboard Challenger with Capt. Rob Dixon at the helm. The angling team defended its 2005 championship by logging three releases over the two-day tournament.

Second place went to brothers Tim and Robert Klein, popular Keys backcountry guides, fishing aboard Gotcha skippered by Capt. Mel Walker. Each angler had a release.

The winning team receives an invitation to the 2007 Rolex/IGFA Offshore Championship.