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Close Call dominates 6th Annual Islamorada Dolphin Tournament

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Sixty-one anglers fished the Islamorada Charter Boat Association’s 6th Annual Islamorada Dolphin Tournament July 12-13, 2014. The boats enter as teams with the combined weight of three dolphin determining the winners. Only two fish can be weighed per day but it takes three to win. After the first day of weigh-ins at Smuggler’s Cove, the Close Call with Captain Scott Stoky at the helm and anglers Randy Hamilton of Montgomery, Ala. and Brett Corley of Key Largo were in the lead with a 40.2- and 24.9-pound dolphin for a total of 65.1 pounds.

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Close on their heels was the Hey Papa with two fish weighed in totaling 57.5 pounds.

Going back to the same area where they had found the big ones on day one, the Close Call found two more fish weighing 30.6 and 23.3 pounds. Per the tournament rules, the weight of the smallest fish was thrown out and the team took home a first-place victory with a total of 95.7 pounds, bringing them $5,200, a first-place trophy sponsored by Mercedes Benz of Cutler Bay, a Pasta Pantaleo print, and a bucket full of prizes totaling over $1,200 from local businesses in the Islamorada area.

Close Call also landed the biggest fish of the tournament netting them a free mount from King Sailfish Taxidermy and the $1,000 prize for the largest fish on an outboard boat sponsored by Caribee Boat Sales and Yamaha Outboards.

Captain Justin Matson’s team aboard the Hey Papa with anglers Chris Eckert from Islamorada, Zach Bennett, Fred and Justin Matson all from Tavernier, Fla. and Tommy King from Key Largo, added to their catch from the first day. The second day, they weighed in a 24.1- and 19.2-pounder. The combined weight of their top three was 81.6 pounds. The team took home the second-place trophy sponsored by Mangrove Mike’s Café. They also received a check for $2,250, an E-Sea Rider bean bag chair, rod and reel combo and other great prizes.

On the first day Rezkills captain Mike Walker would keep his anglers in the hunt and close on the heels of the Hey Papa with two fish weighing 30.2 and 26.3 for a one day combined weight of 56.5 pounds. Just 21 minutes after Hey Papa on the second day, the team weighed in 25.1- and 24.0-ound fish. The combined weight of the teams three biggest was an amazing 81.6 pounds, tying the Hey Papa’s total. Strictly on time the team came in third place.

Anglers Kevin Smith and Andre LimSang of Miami were awarded $1,350, a King Sailfish trophy sponsored by Tackle Center of Islamorada, gift certificates from local businesses and other fishing goodies.

The Hey Papa weighed in the only Wahoo of the tournament and was awarded a Pasta Pantaleo print for the largest Wahoo.
In all, 49 fish were weighed in. There were 24 cows and 25 bulls. The average weight of the fish was 18 pounds.
“We had the best weather ever,” said Tournament Director Dianne Harbaugh. “With the super moon on July 12, anglers were concerned that the fish might not bite. That did not seem to be the case. Our host facility, Smugglers Cove Restaurant, Resort and Marina, did a fantastic job for us.”