Fishing in Fla. Keys could be great for fly and light tackle “tournament of champions”
“Right now fishing is off the charts and if it stays this way our tournament promises to be one of the most outstanding competitions of the year,” said Sandy Moret about the Florida Keys Outfitters/IGFA Inshore World Championship in July.
Moret, who is the tournament director of the 10th annual “tournament of champions” event, said 218 tarpon were caught and released among 25 anglers at a recent fly tournament.
“This could be the indicator of great fishing on the flats July 13 – 15 at the FKO/IGFA Inshore,” she continued. “So far 26 top fly and light tackle ‘sight-casting’ champions from as far away as Sweden and Australia, anglers who have won one of some 40 events around the world, will be on the casting platforms of 26 shallow water skiffs with top guides to fish the Keys island chain.”
From a drawing the 19 men and seven women champion qualifiers will be paired with a premier Keys guide fishing three days as a team for tarpon, bonefish, permit, redfish and snook in the fly and light tackle divisions. A grand champion will be crowned in each division.
Three-time winner Robert Collins of Naples and Islamorada, who won his titles with a spinning reel will now be focusing his skills solely casting fly. He’ll have worthy competition including Carlos Duncan from Houston, Texas, who in June won the Don Hawley Invitational Tarpon Tournament with 26 tarpon releases. The fly side also includes mother and son champions Sandi Bishop of Knoxville, Tenn., and Baker Bishop, Sullivan’s Island, S.C.
Also competing in the fly division are: Jim Bouma, Bradenton, Fla.; Kathryn Hoar, Hanover, Penn.; Sam Kaufman, Evergreen, Co.; Brower Moffit, West Palm Beach, Fla.; Heidi Nute, Miami Beach, Fla.; Thomas Reckling, Houston; Sue Moret and Mark Richens, both of Islamorada, Fla.
The international field includes Australian angler Peter Politis, Nightcliff, NT, winner for the past two years of the Northern Territory’s Barramundi Classic, Nils Zackrisson of Aneby, Sweden winner of the Pike Challenge in Sweden and Michael De Freitas, Westmoorings, Trinidad/Tobago winner of the Trinidad Tarpon Thunder Tournament. They’ll be joined in the light tackle division by Betsy Bullard and Jake Turek of Tavernier, Fla.; Roger Fernandez, Pinecrest, Fla.; Molly Fleming, Palm Beach Shores. Fla.; Joey Marzucco, and brothers Derrick and Troy Pruitt, all of Naples, Fla.; Mark Richards, Charleston, S.C., Chip Stringer, Savannah, Ga.; Aledia Tush, Sarasota, Fla., and Joe Viar, Alexandria, Va.
Fishing and daily scorekeeping takes place from the World Wide Sportsman’s Bayside Marina with The Islander Resort serving as the event’s headquarters. Both are located near mile marker 82. The IGFA remains the inshore championships’ sole nonprofit benefactor. A fundraiser and auction for the IGFA is held during the tournament.
Tournament sponsors include Bacardi, Islamorada Fish Co., The Islander Resort, King Sailfish Mounts, Shimano, Stiffy Push Poles, World Wide Sportsman, Mercury, ESPN Outdoors, Kaiyo’s, Bayside Marina, Tibor Reels, Kaenon Sunglasses, Sage Rods, Patagonia, The Green Turtle Inn, Rich Products Corp, Cortland Line Company, Vineyard Vines and Nautilus Reels.
A complete list of the champions, hometowns and tournaments they qualified is posted on the tournament website at www.inshoreworldchampionships.com.