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Fishing Notes

Floridian achieves 200th world record

Retired physician Martin Arostegui, of Coral Gables, Fla., is the first angler to achieve 200 International Game Fish Association World Records.

He reached the milestone on the eve of the IGFA’s World Record Achievement Awards banquet where, ironically, he was receiving his third consecutive grand slam as the top male angler for the most world records in freshwater (24), fly (24) and tied for first for saltwater records (11) caught in 2006.

His first world record fish was caught in the summer of 1994, a 10-pound triple tail on 4-pound tippet near Flamingo in the EvergladesNational Park. His 200th, also on fly, came nearly 14 years later with a mullet snapper caught in Costa Rica.

“Dr. Arostegui’s accomplishment of achieving 200 world records is truly a remarkable feat,” says IGFA president Rob Kramer. “Through careful planning, detailed preparation and steadfast perseverance, he has taken world record game fishing to an all- time high.”

Arostegui surpassed Herb Ratner, Greensburg, Pa., who retired from the intense pursuit with 181 world records. Through it all he’s also helped set the standards for fish conservation catching, documenting, photographing and then safely releasing more than 90 percent of the fish.

Noted as mostly a light tackle angler, especially with a fly rod, among Arostegui’s smallest fish recorded was a 1 pound fish (the IGFA minimum accepted weight) in the UniniRiver in the Amazon rain forest of Brazil called a pinktail chalceus. “We weren’t sure what it was but we entered it and through the documentation and identification it became an all-tackle record and a new entry to the IGFA’s record book,” says Arostegui.

Last year he received international attention from the news media for his largest fish, a 385-pound lemon shark caught on fly off Key West.

Spanish team tops IGFA Offshore Worlds

With just five marlin released in the first two rounds and a zero on Day 3, the team representing Spain’s Marina Rubicon Marlin Cup 2006 seemed to be mired in the middle of the 62-boat field of the International Game Fish Association Offshore World Championship.

But their luck changed — even with a boat called the Bad Market — as the team bolted to the top with 10 releases on the fourth and final day to win the eighth annual world class competition in May in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The amazing day of “being in the bite” equaled the 10-release record set by the defending champions last year, also on the final day.

Jose Gomez set the pace for the team from Lanzarote, Spain, with six of the marlin releases for 1,800 of the points. With his teammates Jeronimo Valasquez, Federico Acevedo, Joaquin Bachiller and Martin Pastor Navas they produced a total of 4,500 points, one release better than the second-place team.

The Copa del Gobernador San Josedel Cabo team, which had led the first day with eight marlin releases for 2,400 points, had a turnaround as well with a lackluster middle two rounds, and spirited to a second-place finish releasing five marlin in the final round. The team made up of Oscar Daccarett, Modesto Mirando, Daniel Fisher and Jobe Villavencio ended the tournament with 14 marlin for 4,200 points.

In third place was the Caicos (Turks and Caicos) Classic Release Tournament team, with 3,600 points. The team — Bruno Ramos, Erick Soderbon, Frank Mallorca, Nelson Fonseca and Mike Moskowitz — beat out Brazil’s Cabo Frio Marlin Invitational team which also had 3,600 points but finished fourth based on “last fish caught first” scoring. Both teams had 12 marlin releases.

For more information on the total daily scoring of the 62 teams go to the IGFA Web site at .

Mahaffey wins Golden Fly championship

Miami fly angler Tim Mahaffey had won just about every major tarpon tournament, but one big win remained elusive. Mahaffey fulfilled his fishing ambition by winning the Golden Fly Invitational Tarpon Tournament, which ended May 23 in Islamorada, Fla., the first time he competed in the angling challenge.

Despite strong winds in the Florida Keys backcountry, Mahaffey and his guide, Capt. Rick Murphy of Homestead, Fla., took the lead on Day 1 and held it against three tough competitors.

The tournament’s first runner-up was Greg Smith of Canyon, Texas, guided by Capt. Drew Moret of Islamorada.

Second runner-up was Rob Luehrs of Riverside, Conn., guided by Capt. Kris Suplee of Marathon, Fla. Luehrs tied Smith on points, but lost on time. Luehrs also took the “best other fish” award for boating a permit.

The team grand champion consisted of Mahaffey, Mark Cooper of Aurora, Colo., and David Dalu of Charleston, S.C.

Cooper fished with Capt. Greg Poland of Islamorada. Dalu fished with Capt. Scott Collins of Marathon, Fla.

Windy conditions limited total tarpon releases to 13 and total weight fish to four. A roster of 25 angler-and-guide teams competed.

Winds, big seas hamper fishing

Hatteras Yachts took a close victory at the inaugural edition of the new Big Four Billfish Invitational, held in May in Marsh Harbour, Bahamas.

Much like the Hatteras/Bertram Shootout held two weeks prior, the Big Four pits four leading yacht manufacturers and their South Florida dealers against one another in a festive, good-natured team competition. Select owners of Hatteras, Bertram, Viking and custom vessels were invited to participate.

Twenty-knot winds and 6-foot seas greeted the fleet on Day 1, and conditions only worsened as the day went on. By the end of Day 1, seas were 12 feet and building, which led tournament organizers to call for two consecutive lay days before fishing a final Day 2, when seas had dropped back down to fishable 6-foot swells. The conditions, along with overlapping dates with the second leg of the Bahamas Billfish Championship in nearby Treasure Cay, reduced the fleet size to 16 boats.

Despite the limited participation, those who endured report they experienced good fishing.

Team Hatteras, with five boats participating, took a close win with 3,100 points for the release of five blue marlin, and three white marlin. The five boats representing the custom builders combined for 3,000 points and second place, while Viking’s five boats took third with 2,200 points. Bertram’s sole participant tallied 1,300 points, which included a grand slam on Day 2.

”We’re excited to be here on the ground floor for what is clearly going to become a world-class event,” says Steve Gale, vice president of MarineMax, after accepting the top manufacturer award on behalf of the Hatteras and MarineMax team. “We look forward to an even more spirited contest in 2008 now that the builders new to this format have experienced it for themselves.”

A Hatteras 68 Convertible owned by Kaye Pearson, also the tournament organizer, placed third in the individual category with two blue marlin and two white marlin. The custom boat, Business Stinks, and Team Galati took second and first, respectively.

The 16 boats that participated in the 2007 Big Four released 16 blue marlin, seven white marlin and two sailfish during two days of fishing May 23 to 26. All catches were verified with digital photos.

Angler wins tournament with 47.8-pound fish

Miami angler Carlos Peroza won the $10,000 cash prize at the Coconuts Dolphin Tournament in the Florida Keys by catching a 47.8-pound dolphin. Peroza, who spotted the bull dolphin said, “We cast a piece of cut bait and he didn’t bite, so we threw a flying fish.”

Peroza was fishing with 30-pound test line. “He almost spooled the spinning reel, but I just kept reeling until he got to the boat.”

Finishing second was John Furey of Boca Raton, Fla., with a 44-pounder. The leader following the first day of fishing, Furey captained his boat, Dumb Irish Luck, and earned $3,000 for his catch.

Tommy Zeschke of Coral Springs, Fla., took home third-place honors and $2,000 for bringing in a 42-pound dolphin. He fished aboard Geronimo, captained by Gary Chester.

Helen Kyle of Marathon won the tournament’s women’s division with a 28.4-pound fish. Kyle, who earned $2,000 fished aboard Compromise. Top junior angler was Sam Williams, 7, of Alva, Fla., who reeled in a 22.8-pound dolphin while fishing on the Triple Trouble.

The two-day competition attracted 536 anglers.

Marlin tourney to mark 25th year

In 1982 some 400 anglers targeted marlin in the waters off the United States’ southernmost city, fighting the huge billfish like Ernest Hemingway did more than 40 years earlier, in the inaugural Key West Marlin Tournament. The popular angling challenge celebrates its 25th year in 2007, with participants vying for $250,000 in cash prizes July 18 to 21.

Now called the Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament, the tourney takes place in conjunction with Key West’s annual Hemingway Days celebration, which runs July 17 to 22.

Teams that accumulate the most points for blue marlin, white marlin and spearfish during the tournament’s three fishing days are to split $40,000 in cash.

The first-place team earns $25,000, while second- and third-place prizes are $10,000 and $5,000, respectively. Teams also can enter one fun fish (dolphin, tuna, wahoo or released sailfish) per boat per day to add to their point total.

In addition to the cash prizes for the top three boats in the marlin division, anglers can compete for a guaranteed $100,000 for the heaviest marlin weighed in at over 784 pounds.

All marlin and spearfish are to be tagged and released unless their weight exceeds 600 pounds.

Boats entered in the marlin division can pay an additional fee to compete for $10,000 cash to be awarded in the fun fish division. Cash prizes are to be presented for the six largest dolphin, three largest tuna (yellowfin, blackfin and skipjack) and three largest wahoo.

Anglers entered in the fun fish division also can compete for $100,000 to be awarded for the heaviest dolphin weighing more than 64 pounds.

Tournament entry fees are $1,800 per boat for two anglers to compete in the marlin division and attend tournament social events. Marlin division competitors can qualify for cash prizes in the fun fish division for an extra $300 entry fee per boat.

There is no maximum number of anglers per boat, and additional anglers over two can register for $200 apiece, which includes social privileges. Additional social tickets can be purchased for $100 each.

For information, visit , call (305) 292-2710 or

e-mail .

Anglers’ Legacy program will promote fishing

Cabela’s has partnered with the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation to be part of the Anglers’ Legacy, a program designed to introduce newcomers to fishing and boating.

Cabela’s will promote the program through its Web site ( ), 19 retail stores and magazine, Cabela’s Outfitter Journal.

“Most of us were introduced to fishing by an experienced angler, whether it was a family member or family friend,” says Dennis Highby, president and chief executive officer of Cabela’s. “The Anglers’ Legacy program asks avid anglers, like Cabela’s customers, to pay that favor forward by taking a newcomer fishing.”

The millions of visitors to Cabela’s retail stores and online store will be directed to the Anglers’ Legacy Web site at to take the pledge. By entering the code “cabelas,” angler-mentors will be entered to win prizes.

So. Fla. team keeps winning

The Second Chance team didn’t need a second chance to capture first place during the annual Yamaha Dolphin Masters Invitational, held May 26.

Capt. Jeff DiStefano of Key West teamed with Arnold Brye and Chris Wilkens of Inverness, Fla., to earn top honors and $11,000 for three weight fish caught on what DiStefano termed “a phenomenal day of fishing.”

The 2007 tournament was the third consecutive Dolphin Masters win for the teammates, and their fourth overall.

The Second Chance team’s dolphin, all caught by DiStefano, tipped the scales at 15.9, 16.9 and 54.0 pounds for a total weight of 86.8 pounds. But the tournament veteran caught much more than the winning dolphin.

“We caught the 16.9-pounder, and after that I caught a 150-pound blue marlin, a sailfish, a wahoo — and then after those, I caught the big dolphin that wound up weighing 54 pounds,” says DiStefano, who followed by capturing the 15.9-pounder.

Since dolphin were the tournament’s target species, the billfish and wahoo didn’t count toward the team’s victory.

“This is a very tough tournament, because you have to put three good fish up on the scale in one day,” DiStefano says.

Second-place honors were awarded to the team aboard the Reel Conch, consisting of Capt. Randy Sterling Jr., and anglers Randy Sterling Sr., Shane Curry and Marcus Davila, all of Key West. The team’s three weight fish totaled 78.7 pounds.

The Eva Maria team took home third place for three weight dolphin totaling 77.6 pounds. The team consisted of boat owner Barry Andrews, Capt. James Willis and anglers Eva Andrews and Michael Basset, all of Key West.

About 90 participants on 22 boats vied for top honors in the 2007 challenge.

Florida angler wins tarpon tourney

Mike Podowski of North Fort Myers, Fla., battled anglers from as far away as Okinawa, Japan, and hammerhead sharks from the Florida Keys to win the 41st annual Marathon International Tarpon Tournament, which ended May 12.

Podowski chose a 12-pound fishing line to catch and release six tarpon, earning 1,350 points. Anglers fishing 12-pound line earned 225 points per release, while those fishing the heavier 30-pound line earned 150 points per release.

Podowski’s six releases were the highest for an individual angler in the tournament.

Second place went to Nick Meade of Boston. Meade also fished with 12-pound line and released five fish.

Dave Slickven, also of Boston, took third place, releasing five fish caught on 30-pound line.

Winning teams were Podowski and John Murphy of Marathon, Meade and Steve Melia of Boston, and Slickven and Billy Peirciak, also of Boston.

Anglers fished with different guides each day. The top guides in order of finish were Capt. B.J. Meyer, Capt. Jack Callion, Capt. Billy Rabito and Capt. Brad Picariello, all of Marathon.

A total of 39 tarpon were released by 27 anglers fishing from 16 boats. More than 100 hook-ups were logged, according to tournament director Dave Navarro, but some fell victim to light-line break-offs, heavy hammerheads feeding and unfriendly bridge pilings.