Fishing briefs - Florida.

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Keys tourney targets wide variety of fish

One-hundred-thirty-one anglers fishing from 35 boats targeted 15 species of fish during the 2006 Key West Fishing Tournament Kickoff that ended March 12.

Winners included Jeff Leach of Jacksonville, Fla., who earned top honors for the heaviest kingfish with a 54-pound, 4-ounce fish. His catch came on the heels of a fight with another large fish that pulled the hook.

“Once he tired himself out, it was only about a 10-minute fight,” Leach says. He fished aboard the Second Generation with Capt. Rob Delph.

Ten-year-old Brendon Roebuck of Ontario caught and released the tournament’s heaviest fish (an 8-pound redfish) in the junior division despite participating on only one of the two scheduled fishing days. The young angler also released a 7-pound redfish, five jack crevalles, three sea trout and a ladyfish.

Karl Paganelli of Sand Lake, Mich., took home the award for the heaviest cobia, which weighed in at 76 pounds, 12 ounces, and set a new tournament record in the men’s 20-pound test line class.

The award for most sailfish releases (three) went to Holly Amolio-Barr of Key West.

Tournament veteran David Stern of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., scored the most released tarpon with eight. Stern also took the tarpon award in the 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005 kickoffs.

Another veteran participant, Gloria Rampfel of Sugarloaf Key, Fla., triumphed in bonefish releases with 27. Rampfel also earned the bonefish award during the 2002, 2003 and 2004 kickoffs.

Target species in the 2006 angling challenge were dolphin, kingfish, mutton snapper, cobia, grouper, blackfin tuna, wahoo, mangrove snapper, grunt, barracuda, tarpon, permit, bonefish, marlin and sailfish. There were no qualifying catches in categories for the heaviest blackfin tuna or wahoo, or for marlin releases.

The Key West Fishing Tournament also incorporates a one-night swordfish tournament scheduled for June 10.

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Anglers heading to Key Largo

Some 500 anglers from across the Southeast can cast their lines for $50,000 in cash and prizes during the 20th annual Coconuts Dolphin Tournament — one of the largest in South Florida.

First prize is a check for $10,000, going to the angler bringing the largest dolphin to the weigh-in station.

A total of 23 winners are to be awarded cash and prizes, including the top seven anglers overall (based on heaviest dolphin), and first through third place in the female, junior and senior divisions.

A two-year lease on a new 2006 Honda CR-V is to go to the angler who breaks the existing record of 63.9 pounds.

The tournament features two days of fishing for prizes and money: May 20 and 21. A mini-tournament for prizes and will take place May 19.

Entry fee is $150 for adults and $50 for juniors, including the mini-tournament. A social-only ticket is available for $50 per person.

For information, call Coconuts at (305) 453-9794 or visit www.coconutsrestaurant.com/tournament.htm .

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Naples angler wins with big first day

Robert Collins of Naples, Fla., won grand champion honors at the 2006 Islamorada All-Tackle Spring Bonefish Tournament in early April. He released two weight fish (over 8 pounds) on the first day of fishing, building a lead that held over the next two days.

Collins’ two bonefish weighed 13.8 and 9.13 pounds, earning 1,888.5 points in the tournament’s ascending bonus scoring system, where bigger fish earn bigger bonuses. Capt. Paul Tejera of Islamorada was his guide.

Collins earned an invitation to the Rolex/IGFA Inshore Championship, to be held in spring 2007. He won the 2005 Rolex/IGFA and is expected to defend his championship in the 2006 tournament slated for July 9 to 12 in Islamorada.

Fishing with bait, Collins also won the general tackle division and the largest bonefish prize.

Second place in the overall competition went to Jim Mooney of Islamorada. Fishing with Capt. Greg Poland, also of Islamorada, Mooney scored 1,704 points with one weight fish caught on each of the last two days of fishing. His fish weighed 12.5 and 10.13 pounds.

Third place went to Tim Rahn, guided by Capt. Bruce Stagg, both of Islamorada. Rahn had two weight fish plus five releases (fish over 18 inches in length) to total 1,500 points.

The fly division went to Richard Oliver of Kennebunk, Maine, fishing with Capt. Billy Dahlberg of Islamorada. Oliver released one qualifying bonefish, weighing 8.2 pounds, for the win.

The largest permit was caught by Susan Grant of Long Key, Fla. Guided by Capt. Robert Klein of Tavernier, Fla., Grant released a 30-inch permit.

Twenty-two anglers scored 15 weight fish and 38 releases over the three days of fishing in windy conditions.

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Ladies to target silver king in Marathon

The 30th annual Ladies Tarpon Tournament is set for May 13 and 14 at the World Class Angler, at mile marker 50 in Marathon.

Trophies and prizes are to be given for first-, second- and third-place angler; first- and second-place team; most fish caught other than tarpon; most total fish caught (including tarpon); first- and second-place captain; and the traveler’s trophy awarded to the angler who traveled the longest distance to fish the tournament.

Anglers can fish 12- or 30-pound test line on conventional or spin tackle. Live bait or lures can be used.

Tarpon caught on 12-pound line earn 225 points; on 30-pound line, 150 points. All tarpon must exceed 36 inches from mouth to fork of tail to count for points.

Entry fee is $245 per angler. Anglers can fish in the team division for an additional $25 per two-lady team.

For tournament information and registration, call the World Class Angler at (305) 743-6139, fax: (305) 743-0392, or e-mail: wca@terranova.net .

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Faro Blanco tournament reaches milestone

The 20th annual Faro Blanco Tarpon Tournament, set for May 20 to 24 in Marathon, is to combine three nights of fishing with a year’s worth of good works.

Money raised by the tournament goes to the Ronald McDonald Summer Camp Program, which provides for the needs of children attending the summer camp program run by the Ronald McDonald Houses in the Delaware Valley, near Philadelphia.

Entry fee is $400 per angler. A social-only fee of $250 per person is available. The boat fee for three nights of fishing is $1,125, which can be split between two or three anglers. The boat fee includes captain, tackle, bait and licenses.

For information on the tournament and special lodging rates, contact the World Class Angler in Marathon at (305) 743-6139 or e-mail wca@terranova.net .

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Wal-Mart FLW Series opens on Lake Lanier

Local pro Tim Farley of Lula, Ga., started his FLW Outdoors career off right by coming from behind to win $100,000 in the first Wal-Mart FLW Series tournament, held March 8 to 11 on Georgia’s Lake Lanier.

The FLW Outdoors newcomer trailed Wal-Mart FLW Tour veteran Terry Baksay of Monroe, Conn., by 13 ounces entering the final day of competition, but he ended the $900,000 tournament with a five-bass catch weighing 10 pounds that boosted his four-day total to 20 bass weighing 56 pounds, 5 ounces.

“This is just awesome; it’s a dream come true,” said Farley, who has fished Lanier since 1975 and spends more than 150 days per year on the lake. “In the last hour of the tournament, when I lost a couple of 4-pounders, I thought I blew it. I was getting little fish, but I couldn’t get the big ones to hook up.”

Rounding out the top five pros were former FLW Tour Land O’Lakes angler of the year Shinichi Fukae of Mineola, Texas (20 bass, 54-4, $40,000); Team Fujifilm pro Wesley Strader of Spring City, Tenn. (20 bass, 53-12, $30,000) and Yamaha pro Mike Auten of Benton, Ky. (20 bass, 53-4, $20,000).

The new $6.5 million FLW Series features five $900,000 qualifying tournaments, each with a top award of $100,000 and $10,000 through 50th place in the Pro Division.

For information about FLW Outdoors and its tournament programs, visit www.flwoutdoors.com or call (270) 252-1000.