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Fishing Briefs

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Hard work pays off at Sailfish Worlds

For veteran angler Tim Maddock of Pompano Beach, Fla., months of preparation and three days of intense fishing paid off with a $100,000 first prize at the World Sailfish Championship that ended April 22 in Key West.

Owner and captain of the Vitamin Sea Too, Maddock powered his team to a first-day lead they never lost despite a nail-biting final afternoon without spotting a single sailfish.

Maddock and the team — Chris Zidar of Boca Raton, Fla., Mike Reisert and Mike Dinnen of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Bryan Schultz of Pompano Beach and Jon Krieg of Deerfield Beach, Fla. — had virtually no previous experience fishing Key West waters.

“We made the decision not to fish the Miami Billfish Tournament so we could come down here to learn it and get everything right for this, because this tournament was more important for us,” says Zidar, who reported spending more than a week pre-fishing and becoming familiar with area waters and conditions.

The hard work paid off with six releases on the first fishing day and six on the second, giving Vitamin Sea Too a three-fish lead over its closest competitors. On the final day, Maddock released a sailfish shortly after 8 a.m. and a second one midmorning, bringing the team’s total to 14 — two fish more than the second- and third-place finishers.

Maddock, who says he had kept a supply of live goggle eyes penned up at his house since December as bait for the tournament, credited the Vitamin Sea Too’s victory to the team’s commitment, dedication and research.

“We’ve won tournaments all over the world — Australia, Venezuela, Costa Rica — but this is by far the biggest win,” Maddock said. “It’s huge. I can’t wait till next year to do it again.”

The tournament’s second-place honors went to Sea Wolf, skippered by Dave Morris of Islamorada, Fla., with 12 releases.

Third-place team Counter Culture, co-captained by 17-year-old Matt Neber of Miami Beach, Fla., and Chip Sheehan of Boynton Beach, Fla., also released 12 sails — including four on the tournament’s final day — but finished behind Sea Wolf based on the time of the last release.

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Women’s fly tarpon series coming to Islamorada

Women are to pit their angling expertise and tenacity against tarpon at the Women’s World Invitational Fly Championship, Tarpon Series, set for June 13 to 16.

A kickoff party and rules meeting are to be held June 13, at the Lorelei, mile marker 82 bayside in Islamorada.

The all-release, fly-only tournament requires anglers to use tournament-supplied 16-pound tippet. Scoring is based on the total number of releases, so the anglers must hook, fight and release tarpon as quickly as possible — making the competition a true test of skill and endurance.

Fish must measure a minimum of 48 inches long to be counted for scoring. Entry fee is $400 and covers all social functions for each angler and her guide. For information, call (305) 664-5423 or e-mail keyfish@mindspring.com .

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New $1 million striper circuit kicks off

FLW Outdoors — the organization responsible for bringing bass, walleye, redfish and kingfish anglers the most lucrative tournaments in history — recently announced the impending launch of a new striped bass circuit that would comprise the world’s largest and highest-paying striper tournaments.

The Wal-Mart FLW Striper Series will feature seven $125,000 qualifying tournaments plus a no-entry-fee $150,000 championship. As many as 200 teams, ranging from two to four anglers, will compete for a guaranteed top award of $20,000 cash in each qualifier and as much as $50,000 cash based on boat and engine bonuses from Hydra-Sports, Seaswirl, Wellcraft, Evinrude and Yamaha.

The top 25 teams from each qualifier will then advance to a three-day, no-entry-fee championship where they will compete for a share of $150,000, including a top award of $50,000, on international television.

“We knew there was incredible demand for high-paying, high-profile professional striped bass tournaments to serve anglers in the Northeast,” says FLW Outdoors chairman Irwin L. Jacobs. “But even we were surprised by the flood of calls we received from anglers when we announced our intention to launch a striped bass circuit.”

In FLW Striper Series qualifying tournaments each team will be allowed to weigh in two stripers ranging from 28 to 34 inches (unless local regulations dictate otherwise). The fish must be kept alive in new keep-alive boxes developed by FLW Outdoors that will be available for purchase or rent during registration. The boxes, based on proven live-release techniques, will allow all FLW Outdoors striper tournaments to be catch-and-release events. Teams will be charged a 2-pound penalty for any fish that is not weighed in alive.

Entries will be accepted online at www.flwoutdoors.com or by calling (270) 252-1000. Official entry forms, which are available online, may also be mailed to FLW Outdoors, 30 Gamble Lane, Benton, KY 42025. Entry fees are $450 per team for all entries received prior to the day of registration ($500 after that) for each tournament.

The series schedule is: June 3 — Oceanside, N.Y.; June 24 — Westbrook, Conn.; August 19 — Quincy, Mass.; Sept. 16 — West Dennis, Mass.; Sept. 30 — Jersey City, N.J.; Oct. 28 — Slaughter Beach, Del.; Nov. 4 — Cambridge, Md.; Dec. 7-9 — Championship, Virginia Beach, Va.

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Swordfish challenge set for The Keys

Anglers can exchange a few hours of sleep for a possible tournament victory and cash prizes on the night of June 10, during the Key West Fishing Tournament’s Southernmost Swordfish Tournament.

The team that scores the most points for swordfish during the single-night challenge is to win $1,000 cash and a gold swordfish pendant. A $500 cash prize and a trophy await the second-place team, and an additional trophy will be awarded for the heaviest single swordfish caught.

Released swordfish and captured fish more than 100 pounds count toward each team’s point total. All releases are scored at 100 points apiece, and boated swordfish earn one point per pound. Only one fish can be weighed in per boat, and captured swordfish must measure at least 47 inches from the lower jaw to the fork of the tail.

Each registered boat must possess a highly migratory species permit issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service and present it at registration. To apply for a permit, contact the service at (888) 872-8862 or visit www.nmfspermits.com .

The boat entry fee is $100, with no limit on the number of anglers allowed per boat. To pre-register or for more information, call (305) 295-6601 or visit www.keywestfishingtournament.com .

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Annual Gold Cup tarpon tourney returns

The Gold Cup Invitational Tarpon Tournament is set to kick off June 18 with a welcome party and anglers meeting at Uncle’s Restaurant, mile marker (MM) 80.9 oceanside in Islamorada, Fla.

The tournament pits 25 anglers against the tenacious tarpon of the Keys for five days of fishing. Experienced tournament anglers and novices are welcome to compete.

The Gold Cup is a fly-only, all-release tournament that limits fly tippet to 16-pound test, making the battle between angler and tarpon a continually shifting test of strength and finesse, endurance and technique.

Scoring is based on points awarded for either release or weight fish. Release fish must measure at least 48 inches long. Weight fish must exceed 70 pounds. Awards are to be presented June 23 at a dockside party at the Lorelei.

The grand champion’s name will be engraved on the perpetual trophy, currently on display at the Worldwide Sportsman store, MM 81.5 bayside in Islamorada. The grand champion also receives an invitation to the 2007 Rolex/IGFA Inshore Championship to be held in summer 2007.

Entry fee is $1,000 per angler, which includes all social functions for the angler and guide. Guide fees are the angler’s responsibility.

The Gold Cup Invitational Tarpon Tournament began in 1964 as a spin, plug and fly tournament and changed to the current all-fly format in 1972. One of the founders was baseball great and avid fly-fisherman Ted Williams.

For information, call (305) 664-2444 or e-mail csasun@aol.com .