Mid-Atlantic crew repeats as champions
The Main Attraction II team out of Key Colony Beach, Fla., won the $25,000 first prize at the 10th annual Leon Shell Memorial Sailfish Tournament that ended March 2. The victory marks the team’s second consecutive win – a first in the tournament’s history.
Anglers Jim Snyder and Peter Bernard of Richmond, Va., plus Fred Bumgarden, Max Gray and Robert Griffin of Charlotte, N.C., and Bill Fuchs of Phoenix, Ariz., released three sails out of five hook-ups. The teammates fished with Capt. Shelby Bentley of Big Pine Key, Fla., at the helm.
Second place went to the Sea Breeze team with Captain Bob Taute out of Marathon. He guided his son Bob Taute Jr., also of Marathon, and his brother Richard Taute of Wellfleet, Mass., to release two sailfish.
Based on time, third place went to the team aboard the Silver Queen with Captain Chris Tong out of Key Colony Beach Marina, also with two sailfish releases. The anglers were Jim Brown, Bill Stenzel, Mark McNamee, Troy Shindler and Scott Woodall – all of Denver, Colo.
Champion individual angler was Richard Taute for his two sailfish releases.
The largest kingfish, 20.9 pounds, was caught by Bruce Coles of Marathon aboard the Calcutta with Captain Terry Fisher. The champion dolphin was 8.8 pounds, brought in by Joe Suroviec of Palm City, Fla., aboard The Natural with Captain Reese Lewis. The champion tuna, an 18.1-pounder, was caught by Don Hiller of Marathon aboard the Main Attraction with Captain Marty Lewis.
Lois Shell, widow of Capt. Leon Shell for whom the tournament is named, presented a check for $35,000 to Hospice and Visiting Nurses Association of the Florida Keys.
A field of 110 anglers fished the tournament from 26 boats.
Bassmaster Classic champ crowned in S.C.
Yamaha pro angler Alton Jones was named 2008 Bassmaster Classic champion on Feb. 24 after three days of competition on South Carolina’s LakeHartwell. Jones captured the title and was awarded the $500,000 top prize by bringing in a catch weighing 13 pounds 7 ounces for Day Three, giving him a winning cumulative weight of 49 pounds 7 ounces for the tournament.
“This is the fulfillment of a dream I’ve had since childhood,” said Jones. “I tried very hard to focus on what I needed to do to make every cast count and get back to the basics.”
Driving a Yamaha V MAX(R) Series 2-powered Skeeter boat, the Waco, Texas native made a comeback from tenth place on Day One, taking the first place position on Day Two and then holding that position in the finals.
The Bassmaster Classic is one of the biggest events in bass fishing. The 2008 Classic marks Yamaha’s return to B.A.S.S. as the Official Outboard Sponsor of the 40-year-old organization.