Fishing Briefs

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Four anglers inducted into hall of fame

Fishing lines were humming off the shore of Port Aransas, Texas, Aug. 10 -13, when 36 boats took to the sea for the first Texas Legends Billfish Tournament. Competition was fierce, as the boats fished for more than $282,000 in prize money.

Robin Parsley’s Rock-N-Robin won top honors, taking home $72,758 of the prize money. In addition to announcing the tournament’s winners, it was announced that four Texas anglers were inducted into the new Texas Saltwater Fishing Hall of Fame.

“A total of 20 blue marlin, five white marlin and eight sailfish were released during the two days of fishing,” says Travis Leach, manager of Hatteras and brokerage at sponsor MarineMax. 

This year’s event would have been the eighth Annual Bob Byrd Memorial Marlin Tournament, a tournament started in honor of Bob Byrd, Sr., who was one of the pioneers of billfishing off the Texas coast in the early 1960s. However, this year, tournament directors Bobby Byrd and Captain John Cochrane decided to change the name to the “Texas Legends Billfish Tournament” and dedicate it to all Texas anglers, past and present, who have made a difference in big game fishing. A Texas Big Game Fishing Roll Call was also added to the tournament to remember those who have passed on.

At the end of fishing, Robin Parsley’s Rock-N-Robin nabbed first place for their catch of two blue marlins and one white marlin. As the top boat, Rock-N-Robin received the prestigious Bob Byrd Memorial Trophy to keep for one year.

“In addition to changing the tournament’s name and adding the Roll Call, organizers Byrd and Cochrane also founded the Texas Saltwater Fishing Hall of Fame to honor Texans who have made significant contributions to big game and saltwater fishing.

“The Hall of Fame is dedicated to promoting and preserving Texas’ saltwater fishing heritage through recognition, research and education,” says Captain Cochrane. “Each year, several inductees will be voted into the Hall of Fame, and the Big Game Fishing inductees will be announced and honored at the Texas Legends Tournament annually.”

This year’s inductees include a “Who’s Who” of Texas fishing legends, and they received their awards at Saturday night’s Memorial Dinner. Inductees include: Alfred C. Glassell, Jr., Jerry Dunaway, Deborah Dunaway, and Bill Hart. For more information visit www.txlegends.com and www.txsaltwaterfishinghall.com or call Travis Leach at (713) 591-1169.

‘Northerners’ win Islamorada Tournament

It must have seemed like the War of Northern Aggression to Florida Keys swordfishers. Boats from the mainland came south and swept the top three overall and top three release division prizes at the Islamorada Swordfish Tournament held in mid-August.

Double D, a 34-foot Sea Vee open fisherman, won the overall championship with anglers David Mackoul and Sasha Gupta, both of Cape Coral, Fla., releasing seven swordfish over the two nights of fishing. The team’s score also gave them the top spot in the release division. Capt. Dean Panos of Fort Lauderdale was at the helm.

Capt. Chip Sheehan’s Chips Ahoy took second place in both the overall scoring and release division. Angler Mark Wodlinger of Jupiter, Fla., released five fish.

Third place overall went to Miss Britt, with Capt. Jim Mulcahey at the helm. Angler Jason Kallovokas of Reston, Va., also released five swordfish, but lost on time. His score was good for third place in the release division.

The largest fish in the tournament was caught by Donald Houser of Homestead, Fla. Fishing aboard Nothin Wild, Houser brought a 324-pound swordfish to the scales. Houser’s fish was more than twice the weight of last year’s biggest fish, a 160-pound sword — evidence of the improving Keys swordfish fishery.

Top lady angler was Islamorada’s Diane Harbaugh. She released three swordfish.

One hundred and three anglers rotated on 21 boats in the tournament, which is the first leg in the Miami Swordfish Championship. Forty-one fish were released and three fish were brought to the dock for weigh-in.

Three slams clinch Little Palm Tourney

Veteran angler Jim Bokor of Tavernier, Fla., caught and released three slams — each consisting of a tarpon, permit and bonefish — during the Little Palm Island Grand Slam fishing tournament in the Florida Keys that ended Aug. 17.

Fishing with Capt. Tim Hoover, Bokor was named tournament grand champion and earned first place for the largest number of tarpon releases with 16. Hoover received the tournament’s award for grand champion guide.

First runner-up grand champion was Kal Blumberg of Islamorada, Fla., fishing with Capt. Mark Krowka. Blumberg scored two slams, releasing four tarpon, two bonefish and four permit during the tournament’s two fishing days.

The team grand championship went to Tom Demoss of Philadelphia, Pa., and George Woodward of Islamorada. Demoss scored two slams and released three additional tarpon, while Woodward racked up one slam and released two additional bonefish and an additional tarpon. The duo fished with Capt. Doug Kilpatric.

Linda Denkert of Islamorada was named the tournament’s grand champion lady angler for releasing one slam, two additional tarpon and an additional permit. Denkert fished with her husband, Capt. Dave Denkert.

Fourteen boats took part in the Little Palm Island Grand Slam, with anglers releasing a total of 113 fish — 57 tarpon, 35 bonefish and 21 permit.

The angling challenge benefits cystic fibrosis research and is named for its headquarters, a 5-acre private island resort located three miles out in the Atlantic Ocean from Little Torch Key. The tournament’s celebrity host was Jim “Mad Dog” Mandich, who was a key player for the Miami Dolphins’ undefeated 1972 team and currently hosts a radio show.

Anglers can fish day and night at tourney

Anglers who brag they could fish day and night will be taken at their word during the Take Stock in Children Backcountry Challenge, scheduled for Oct. 13-15, in Key Largo.

The tournament is to kick off with a 6 p.m. angler’s and captain’s meeting and party Oct. 13, at Sundowners, mile marker 104 bayside in Key Largo.

Anglers are to target redfish and snook, with first, second and third prizes going to anglers who catch the largest fish by length in each species division.

Trophies for top guide, most outstanding catch in the ladies’ division and young angler also are to be awarded at the awards banquet, which is to begin with 6 p.m. cocktails at Sundowners, followed by dinner.

Proceeds from the tournament benefit the Take Stock in Children Scholarship Program, a statewide program that identifies economically disadvantaged seventh-grade students who meet the certain academic and behavioral criteria, and awards them Florida Prepaid College Plan scholarships for two years. For information, call (305) 522-4724.

Good weather at Billfish Pro/Am tourney

Area anglers flocked to the seas off of Sarasota for one of Augusts most anticipated fishing events — and they weren’t disappointed. With good weather and great fishing, competition at the HBA Sarasota/MarineMax Billfish PRO/AM Tournament, held Aug. 9-12, was strong, and participants walked away with more than $100,000 in prizes.

Local charities were also winners, as the event donated fish to the Salvation Army and raised more than $25,000 for the American Cancer Society, the Future Builders of America Foundation and the Suncoast Foundation for the Handicapped.

“This turned out to be a spectacular tournament,” says Steve Gales, vice president of sales with MarineMax. “The fishing was fantastic, and everyone had a good time. This was our first year sponsoring the event, and it couldn’t have gone better.”

Sunny skies and calm seas greeted professional anglers as they hit the water Aug. 10 for their first day of offshore division fishing, and good fishing continued the next two days as well. 

In the end, team First Strike, fishing off of Patrick Logue’s 74-foot Viking, reeled in three blue marlins, two white marlins and two swordfish to capture first place in the Billfish Division and $71,600 in prize money.

Reel Candy, fishing from a 47-foot Jersey Sportfish, nabbed second place and a $15,000 cash prize in the Billfish Division with two blue marlin and two swordfish catches.

Additional professional division winners landed a 28-foot tuna and a 36.2-foot wahoo. www.sarasotabillfish.com