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Hollywood youth wins junior sailfish tournament

At the two-day Islamorada Junior Sailfish Tournament, 14-year-old Josh Weinstock of Hollywood, Fla., won first-place team and first-place grand champion high-point

angler, catching six sailfish aboard Tiki with Capt. Roy Lindback of Islamorada. He walked away from his first tournament win with a 6-foot trophy.

“This is the greatest day of my life ever,” said Weinstock.

His father, Jonathan Weinstock, said after catching the first sailfish of the tournament on the first day, the boat broke down. Josh Weinstock also overcame a recent injury to win: he had a cast on one leg for a dislocated kneecap until just 10 days before the tournament.

“He’s very competitive. He hung in there tough,” Jonathan Weinstock said.

Twice, the young angler had a double hook-up — finessing one of them by successfully landing and releasing both fish.

The second time, however, the lines got crossed and before one could be cut, the other fish spooled the line down to about 10 yards.

“The captain was backing the boat down, my son was reeling and reeling and after about 12 minutes we saw him. It was a 7-foot sailfish,” said the senior Weinstock.

That fish, caught at around 2:30 p.m., put Josh Weinstock in the lead.

The second-place team award went to Weez in the Keys, also with six releases. Brothers Joshua and Jared Robins of Miami Beach fished with Capt. Dave Morris of Islamorada, and Joshua placed as the first runner up high-point angler.

Second runner-up was 7-year-old Islamorada resident K.C. Spalding, with four fish caught aboard Caribsea with his father, Capt. Kenny Spalding.

Third runner-up was another 7-year-old, Michael Smith, who also released four sailfish. Fishing with Capt. Paul O’Donnell aboard the Skipper, his team from Augusta, Ga., won the third-place team award. The other team members were 6-year-old Tom Smith, 7-year-old Tucker Meyer and 12-year-old Eric Smith.

A total of 35 fish were released by 32 anglers on 15 boats during the two-day youth angling challenge.

Team Relentless wins Gurgiolo Sailfish Tourney

A Florida angling team aboard Relentless released six sailfish to win the two-day Don Gurgiolo Sailfish Classic that ended Dec. 9.

Grand champion anglers were Robert Stevens Jr. of Boca Raton, Jim Berlin of Tequesta, Michael Porter of DaniaBeach, and Steve Wile of Fort Myers. They fished with Capt. Paul Ross and mates Jim Hendrix and Scott Stoky of Key Largo.

“This team of anglers all had memories of fishing in Islamorada with my dad more than 20 years ago,” says tournament director Tammie Gurgiolo, daughter of the late Don Gurgiolo.

Veteran of more than 50 years of fishing in the Keys, Don Gurgiolo is remembered for pioneering many of the light-tackle and live-bait techniques used today for catching sailfish.

By earning top honors the Relentless team qualified to fish the 2008 IGFA Offshore Championship to be held in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Easy Rider finished second with five sailfish releases under the guidance of Capt. Roy Lindback and mate Lucas Hill. Anglers were John Curd and Richard Walser of Fort Lauderdale and Billy Masters and Larry Peterson of DaniaBeach.

Capt. Gary Lowery of Islamorada skippered Islamorada residents Colby Clayton and Wade Clayton, and Ron Johnson of Pensacola to third-place honors aboard Team Player. The angling quartet released four sails.

Forty-one anglers fished the tournament, releasing a total of 35 sailfish.

Main Attraction catches four to win Captain’s Cup

With outriggers down, racing well above trolling speed, the Main Attraction team caught and released four sailfish to win the $25,000 grand champion prize at the fifth annual Islamorada Fishing Club Captain’s Cup Sailfish Tournament that ended Dec. 7.

Jamie Platt of Marathon, Fla., credited teamwork as the most important factor in Main Attraction’s win. He and teammate Ariel Modero, also a Marathon resident, were guided by Capt. Marty Lewis.

“We literally don’t even have to speak,” Platt said. “We just look at each other and know what to do.”

Second place went to anglers Anthony DelDuca of Naples and Jamie Allen of Tavernier, aboard Kalex with Capt. Alex Adler. The team released three sailfish, finishing ahead of the Reel McCoy based on time.

Reel McCoy, with Capt. George McElveen, placed third with anglers John Timura and Robert Collins of Islamorada.

The Captain’s Cup drew 17 boats and 34 anglers. In all, 21 sailfish were released.

Miami Billfish Tournament returns

The 2008 Yamaha Contender Miami Billfish Tournament and Baywalk Festival are gearing up for another round of fun on the water while promoting marine conservation. The event will be held April 3–6 at the Miami Beach Marina on SouthBeach.

The weekend festivities will commence with a Kick-Off April 3. The next three days will be all about fishing for cash awards, prizes and trophies, along with arts, crafts and fun for spectators, families and the general public.

Free and open to the public, everyone is invited to attend the tournament’s daily Baywalk Festival, weigh-ins and dock parties. The Baywalk Festival features various local artists and craftsman, while our popular dock parties offer great food and drink specials, live music, exhibitors, raffles, entertainment and giveaways at the weigh-station. The festivities culminate with a silent auction, offering opportunities to bid on and purchase exotic trips, fine jewelry, artwork, fishing tackle, consumer and marine electronics.

Last year total cash awards of over $255,000 were paid out to top anglers, along with trophies and prizes valued at over $60,000. There were 476 anglers, including PeeWees, juniors and women anglers that enjoyed the event.

Basic competition entry fee starts at $300 per person (early entry fee of $250 available) with a variety of added value categories available. The 2008 tournament will also offer some additional added-value categories and new ways to win cash prizes. There is a new Outboard Division.

www.miamibillfish.com

Inaugural fly-fishing championship set

Anglers in Islamorada’s new fly-fishing tournament are to compete to catch the largest snook and redfish in a region of the Florida Keys that is famous for them. The Islamorada Fly-fishing Championship is set for Feb. 21-23.

According to tournament director Charlotte Ambrogio, the event offers an unusual challenge for participants fishing the backcountry waters of FloridaBay. Each boat can only have one registered angler, although captains also can fish.

Only fly-fishing is allowed. Each fish is to be measured, photographed and released.

Prizes of artwork await the tournament grand champion, runner-up grand champion and anglers who catch the largest snook and redfish.

Mike Criscola of South Plainfield, N.J., is chairman of the tournament and has been fishing in Islamorada since he was 16.

“Mike and I wanted to host an event in the winter because there are no other tournaments going on in the backcountry,” said Ambrogio.

They scheduled the tournament for the week after the Miami Boat Show when fishermen would want to be in South Florida. Their tactics appear to have paid off, since the 25 available angler slots were filled weeks before the event.

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