Team Fishizzle shows off their catch of mahi and wahoo, bringing home the heaviest wahoo at 13.5 pounds.

Five hundred sixty anglers aboard 80 registered vessels headed offshore on the weekend of May 6 and 7 in search of mahi, tuna, wahoo and tripletail for the 2023 return of the Tom Thumb Marathon Offshore Bull & Cow Tournament. Tipping the scales with a combined bull and cow weight of 48 pounds, the crew of “The Natural” claimed top honors in this year’s flagship category while also securing podium finishes in the Largest Bull Dolphin and Highest 3-Dolphin Combined Weight categories. Congratulations to all the tournament winners, many of whom arrived at weigh-in with fish upwards of 30 pounds.

“We had such a great turnout that we can’t wait till next year,” said tournament organizer Jack Carlson. “We’re going to have an $18,000 guaranteed first-place prize to start.”

Highest Bull & Cow Dolphin Combined Weight 

  1. The Natural – 48 pounds – RJ Lewis, Devon Hanna, Karel Lewis, Paul Byrd, Natalie Valdez and Reece Lewis from Little Torch Key 
  2. Silent Hunter – 45.5 pounds – Bill Blum, Bryce Battle, Charles Meyers, Ely Hernandez and Tripp Textoris from Marathon
  3. Two Conchs – 39 pounds – Capt. Jordan Leake and mate Jayden Bruland with anglers Kyle Syberg, Eric Appelgren, Tim Burgess and Bruce Hoy from Sunset Hills, Montana. 

Largest Bull Dolphin 

  1. Two Conchs – 35.5 pounds 
  2. The Natural – 32.5 pounds 
  3. Heavy Guns – 25.5 pounds – TJ Zinkand, Juan Roman, Scott Battle, Brandon Mitchell, Leah and Cole from Key Largo

Largest Cow Dolphin 

  1. Two Conchs 34 – 27.5 pounds – Capt. JC Carlson, Capt. Tucker Carlson, Michael Ruiz, Clay Daniels and Jarrod Wiley from Marathon
  2. Silent Hunter – 20 pounds
  3. Executive Decision – 18.5 pounds – Capt. Chris Ware, John Paglia, Jill Paglia, Josh Ardis and Mike Kasten from Duck Key

Highest 3-Dolphin Combined Weight

  1. The Natural – 57.5 pounds 
  2. Silent Hunter – 56.5 pounds 
  3. Two Conchs 34 – 55 pounds 

Largest Wahoo

  1. Fishizzle – 13.5 pounds – Adam Riccioni, Will Baten, Jordan Wood, Chris Harpster and Easton Miller from Big Pine Key
  2. The Skinny – 10 pounds – Bjorn and Kristina Gunnlaugsson, Laurence and Dianna Stewart, and Rich and Shawn Magner from Pompano Beach
  3. Luvhers – 7 pounds – Ariana Bernhardt, Dave Wilbur, Amy Townsend and Kevin and Alex Bachner from Marathon

Largest Blackfin Tuna 

  1. The 4th Line – 25.5 pounds – Andy and John Cacciatore, John Campbell, and Chris and Andrew Cacciatore from Springfield, Kentucky 
  2. Tailwalker – 25.5 pounds – Capt. Brandon Simmons, Capt. Aaron Sutcliff, and Tom and Caroline McCarthy from Miami
  3. Two Conchs 34 – 23.5 pounds

Largest Tripletail 

  1. Honey Maker – 7.5 pounds – Barry Heart, Jeremy, Vanessa Kopelakis and Albert Miranda from Georgia 

Top Junior Angler 

Corbin Buckley, Dream Weaver

Top Female Angler 

Marilyn Deno, Half Time

Most Unusual 

Sweet Boys, Brantley and Brennan Brodie with a triggerfish

Alex Rickert made the perfectly natural career progression from dolphin trainer to newspaper editor in 2021 after freelancing for Keys Weekly while working full time at Dolphin Research Center. A resident of Marathon since 2015, he fell in love with the Florida Keys community by helping multiple organizations and friends rebuild in the wake of Hurricane Irma. An avid runner, actor, and spearfisherman, he spends as much of his time outside of work on or under the sea having civil disagreements with sharks.