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Anglers to target barracuda in Cuda Bowl set for Jan. 31-Feb.1 in the Keys

Anglers are to seek barracuda during the all-release Cuda Bowl, a fishing tournament set for Jan. 31-Feb. 1 in the Florida Keys.
Anglers are to seek barracuda during the all-release Cuda Bowl, a fishing tournament set for Jan. 31-Feb. 1 in the Florida Keys.
Jill Zima Borski

Anglers are to target barracuda on the flats in the 2014 Cuda Bowl, set for Friday, Jan. 31, and Saturday, Feb. 1. Scheduled just before professional football's Super Bowl, the all-release tournament is designed for anglers fishing in pole-able depths of water with artificial flies and lures.

Awards await the anglers who catch the largest total inches of barracuda in the fly and spin divisions. Each angler can count three fish per day toward the total.

The Cuda Bowl is to begin with a final registration and captains meeting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 30, at The Angling Company, 333 Simonton St. in Key West's historic Old Town.

Fishing is scheduled Friday and Saturday. Teams can begin their pursuit of barracuda at any time during daylight tournament hours, but cannot exceed eight hours of fishing per day.

Anglers and guides must appear by 5:30 p.m. each day for check-in at Hurricane Hole Marina, 5130 Overseas Highway at mile marker 4.5 oceanside. Boats are not required to leave and return to Hurricane Hole by water; trailering is allowed.

An awards gathering at Hurricane Hole is to follow the close of fishing Saturday.

Tournament rules allow licensed guides to fish as anglers. The entry fee is $200 for one angler on a boat and an additional $50 for a second, with two anglers allowed per boat. Early registration is suggested to ensure participation.

Even as the tournament gets under way, Florida Keys guides are concerned about the status of barracuda, worrying that those who do not release the toothy creature are harming the fishery to the point that protections for barracuda are being discussed by fishery managers.

Tournament information and registration: www.cudabowl.com
Key West visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY
Lower Keys visitor information: www.fla-keys.com/lowerkeys or 1-800-872-3722
Florida Keys fishing information: www.fla-keys.com/fishing
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