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Fishing briefs – October 2006

655-pound marlin landed at Bahamas Billfish tourney

The Luhrs Tournament Series Fishing Team from Jacksonville (Fla.) Yacht Sales, landed the biggest fish at the 5th Leg of the Bahamas Billfish Championship, June 18 to 23 at Marsh Harbour in Abaco, Bahamas. The six-member crew aboard Fish Bone, a Luhrs 41 Convertible, landed a 655-pound blue marlin after a four-hour battle June 22.

Fifteen minutes before official “lines in” time, the huge fish took a Black Bart lure being trolled in 2,200-feet of water near South Man-O-War Island in the Abacos. After a few spectacular jumps, the big billfish went deep to 800 feet. One hundred-pound test line and 60 pounds of drag eventually wore the marlin down after a long brutal “slugfest” in 6- to 8-foot seas, says angler Franco Hall.

The 33rd annual BBC is an official event of the World Billfish Series. The Boat Harbour Championship was the last competition of the year, and it drew 80 teams, primarily from the United States.

Three-year Luhrs Tournament team veteran Capt. Bobby Shepard and his new 2006 crew — Doug Nichols, Alan Tucker, Jerry Germain, Ed McClintock and Hall — have fished six tournaments so far in 2006.

Keep EEZ closed to striped bass: RFA

Jim Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, testified before the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Resources, on the conservation and management of Atlantic striped bass July 27 in Washington, D.C.

The National Marine Fisheries Service is considering a proposal to lift the harvest moratorium for striped bass harvest in the exclusive economic zone. Donofrio urged Congress to keep the EEZ closed to striped bass harvest. The RFA believes that the closure of the EEZ is important for the long-term sustainability of the striped bass fishery, and will protect the larger age structure of reproductive, female striped bass that inhabit the deeper waters of the EEZ.

By lifting the harvest moratorium, both commercial and recreational fishing could quickly remove these larger fish, leading to a situation that initiated the near collapse in the 1980s, Donofrio said.

Fishing Hall of Fame to enshrine five

Five men will be inducted into the International Game Fish Association Fishing Hall of Fame this fall in Dania Beach, Fla. The class of 2006 includes John W. Anderson II, Charles Alma Baker, Bill Dance, Hidenori Onishi and Milton C. Shedd.

The enshrinement ceremony and dinner, sponsored by Rolex, will take place Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. at the IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum in Dania Beach. The public is invited.

Each year the honorees are selected for the contributions they have made to the sport of fishing through angling achievements, literature, the arts, science, education, invention, communication or administration of fishery resources.

There are currently 60 Hall of Fame members including Ernest Hemingway, Zane Grey, Curt Gowdy, Ted Williams, Lee Wulff, Michael and Helen Lerner and Philip Wylie. See the complete list at .

Relatives take top prize at Key West tourney

Two brothers-in-law, co-owners of a boat, scored a blue marlin release and caught two dolphins to win the $25,000 prize at the Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament that ended July 22 in the Florida Keys.

Building contractors Roy Miller of Clearwater, Fla., and John Burket of St. Petersburg, Fla., began the final day of angling with just one 27.55-pound dolphin caught Friday, without seeing any billfish during the first two days of the three-day contest.

“We decided we would go deep, so we ran out about 30 miles,” says Burket, who serves as captain of Serenity, a 29-foot Luhrs sportfisherman. “We hooked the marlin (estimated to weigh 150 pounds) after 20 minutes of fishing and fought it for 30 minutes before releasing it.”

Finesse, captained by Kenny Harris with angler Andy Glynn of Marshfield, Mass., was second, while Jannace 43, skippered by Ed Wilson of Fort Myers, Fla., with angler Loren Farinelli of Lighthouse Point, Fla., placed third.

In the Fun Fish division, Key West Fire Department, captained by Ed Gates of Key West won the dolphin category with a 55.2-pound fish caught by George Koehn of Key West. Lucky Charm, with Capt. Jay Weed of Big Coppit Key, Fla., won the wahoo class with a 53.1-pound fish reeled in by Richard McGinley of Ocala, Fla. Tortgua, skippered by Chip Campbell of Land O’ Lakes, Fla., captured the tuna category with a 20.35-pound fish by Susan Campbell.

Almost 300 anglers, on 58 boats, fished the tournament, according to director Scott Greene. The angling contest is staged each year in conjunction with the island city’s six-day Hemingway Days festival.

The 2007 Drambuie event is scheduled for July 18 to 22 and marks the Key West marlin tournament’s 25th anniversary.

Teens score 99 fish at RedGhost Stalk

Paul Sabayrac, 16, of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., won the junior division (for anglers ages 9 to 16) at the annual RedGhost Stalk all-release fishing tournament presented by the Islamorada Fishing and Conservation Trust and the Islamorada Fishing Club.

Local Islamorada angler Richard Black, 17, won the young adult division for anglers ages 17 to 29.

Sabayrac, guided by Capt. Andy Thompson of Homestead, Fla., released eight redfish and two bonefish.

Black released three redfish and two bonefish while fishing with Capt. David Borras of Islamorada. Black is to receive an invitation to the Rolex/ IGFA Inshore Championship, set for summer 2007.

First runner-up in the junior division was Wesley Berry, 13, of Homestead. He released eight redfish and one bonefish, just one “gray ghost” short of a tie for grand champion honors.

Berry’s bonefish was his first. He was guided by Capt. Mike Hutchinsson, also of Homestead.

In the young adult division, Josh Davis of Islamorada was first runner-up. Fishing with Capt. Chris Jones, also of Islamorada, Davis released nine reds and one bonefish.

Forty-six anglers competed in the tournament from 40 boats. Seventy-eight redfish and 21 bonefish were released, and 10 redfish-bonefish “slams” were caught.

Jacksonville angler wins Del Brown tourney

Veteran angler Warren Hinrichs of Jacksonville, Fla., caught three permits on fly to win the 2006 Del Brown Invitational Permit Tournament honoring the late angling legend.

Hinrichs earned the title of grand champion angler fishing with Capt. Kris Suplee of Marathon, Fla. Suplee was named the tournament’s grand champion guide.

Hinrichs’ catches included a 30-incher that was the tournament’s single largest permit. The fish was 3 inches longer than the one that earned him the largest fish award in the 2005 tournament.

Hinrich’s other two fish measured 23-1/8 inches and 18 inches.

Doug Mayer of Jacksonville was named the 2006 runner-up grand champion. He caught one permit, which measured 24-5/8 inches, while fishing with Capt. Dale Perez of Tavernier, Fla.

Fourteen anglers participated in the tournament named for Brown, who died in 2003. The internationally acclaimed angler was the inventor of the Del Brown Permit Fly, also called the Merkin, and caught more than 500 permits during his lifetime.