Capt. Rom Whitaker and his team aboard Release, a 52-foot Bobby Sullivan, won the 28th annual Alice Kelly Memorial Ladies-Only Billfish Tournament at Pirate’s Cove Marina in Manteo, North Carolina.
The 97-boat fleet released 64 billfish in the two-day event. Release led the way with four billfish releases — three sailfish and one blue marlin — to win for the first time in seven years. The next three teams matched one another with 300 points for three billfish releases.
True Grit, a 54-foot Paul Mann, finished second on time with three sailfish releases. Uno Mas, a 68-foot Bayliss, finished third with three white marlin, while Legacy, a Bobby Sullivan 57, was fourth with three white marlin releases. Gratitude, a 60-foot Paul Spencer, rounded out the top five.
Emily Bracher, competing on Pelican with Capt. Arch Bracher, was named both the top junior angler and the Paula Stanski Award winner for angling excellence for her white marlin release.
The tournament honors Alice Kelly, the late champion for Outer Banks women. The event raises funds for cancer research and also serves as an opportunity for female anglers to showcase their talents.