Warmer water temperatures combined with a wicked forecast for windy weekend conditions made sail fish hookups during the 14th Annual Leon Shell Memorial Sailfish Tournament particularly challenging.
The three sailfish landed during the two-day tournament, based on the order in which they were caught, determined the top three finishers.
Marty Lewis at the helm of the Main Attraction led his anglers Ed Rice of Key Colony Beach; Mike Langemi of Grassy Key; Digger Rodamer of Key Colony Beach; and Joe Madrick of West Palm Beach; to the first hook up on Saturday.
Second place anglers aboard Silent Hunter included BJ Meyer; Ely Hernandez; Cody Darbie and Bucko Platt, all of Marathon.
Roy Lindback of Islamorada and Craig and Seanna Lindback of Tavernier secured third place aboard TIKI with the third and final hookup of the tournament.
In the individual species divisions, Hernandez landed a 6.8-pound dolphin, and Mark Pairier of Lindenberry, N.H. aboard the Game On took home awards for his 25.2-pound kingfish and his 15.4-pound tuna.
Pictured (l-r) are: awards dinner emcee John Bartus; radio personality Anne O’Bannon; Hospice/VNA president Jody Gross; tournament organizer and Sparky’s Landing owner Matt Anthony; and Natalie Maddox of Hospice/VNA.
The Main Attraction netted $5,500 and the tournament title for the 14th Annual Leon Shell Memorial Sailfish Tournament.
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Weekly Newspapers staff writer Blair Shiver has had a hard time finding any fellow Bulldogs down here in Gator Country. This Georgia native moved to Marathon nearly four years ago from New York City. She specializes in reporting and covering human-interest stories throughout the Keys.
Blair currently serves on the board of Independence Cay, is a Take Stock in Children mentor, Marathon Jaycee and volunteers as a Guardian ad Litem.