The 31st annual Swamp Guides Ball kicked off Feb. 5 at Angler House Marina, with 152 participants in 62 teams fishing on Feb. 6. The team of Jared Raskob and Andy Yaffa caught 24 total fish for the tournament win.
Sponsored by Costa, the yearly event raises funds for the Guides Trust Foundation and the Florida Keys Fishing Guides Foundation, which distribute aid to guides in need. The catch and release tournament targets three species: bonefish (33 caught), redfish (116 caught) and snook (174 caught).
Guides and anglers adapted to a new location this year, and modified departure locations, limited social events, and an online auction to accommodate safe social distancing. Everyone’s participation is essential in helping the cause and continuing the Keys backcountry tradition.
Raskob and Yaffa caught all three species of fish. They also caught the most snook, 12. The runner-up team of Caleb Bokor and Richard Black also caught all three species of fish and 22 in total.
Betsy Bullard, who was guided by Andy Thompson, was the ladies champion, while fly champion went to Jillian Tisdale, who was guided by Wes Thompson. Junior grand champion was Bokor, and junior runner-up was Ben Friedman guided by Steve Friedman.
Richard Oliver, who was guided by Brian Helms, caught the most bonefish, five, while Dallas Hill guided by Joe Murphy caught the most redfish, 14. Yaffa caught the most snook, 12.
Thirteen teams caught all three species: Jared Raskob and Andy Yaffa (2,400 points), Caleb Bokor and Richard Black (2,200 points), Lance Keene and Mark Gilman (1,800 points including a bonefish on fly), Matt Bohn and Steven Goethel with guide Lincoln Rodriguez (1,500 points), Luke Krenik and McKee Krenik (1,100 points), Brian Helms and Richard Oliver (1,100 points), Betsy Bullard and Wesley Locke with guide Andy Thompson (600 points), David Whetstone and Mark Rehbein (600 points), Ken Diaz and Steven Tejera (600 points), Jake and Johnny Leon (500 points), Eli Whidden and Mark Wolaver (500 points), Jillian Tisdale and Wes Thompson (500 points), Doug Hanks and John Redmond with guide Robert Collins (400 points).
The tournament, a grassroots group effort of guides and sponsors, expressed special thanks to Alex Woodsum for her coordinating expertise; presenting sponsor Costa Sunglasses; gold sponsors Pure Fishing and the Fleming Family Foundation; local silver sponsors Angler House Marina, Caribee Boat Sales and Marina, Charter Lakes Insurance, Markey Marine and Papa’s Pilar Rum; local artists Tim Borski and Jim Martinez; and Bluewater Copper Works, Bull Bay Rods, Captains for Clean Water, Florida Keys Outfitters, Friedman Maguire and Carey, P.C., Grey’s/Hardy/Penn, Hell’s Bay Boatworks, Island Brands USA with Island Coastal Lager, Nautilus Reels, Orvis, Solidarity Strategies and Traeger Grills.