Relentless Wins Big in Islamorada

Incredibly tight competition marks this year's event

Islamorada Sailfish Tournament winner 2016
Relentless won the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament by one release.Courtesy Islamorada Sailfish Tournament

In a 35-minute span, the crew aboard Relentless caught and released six sailfish for 600 points in the final day of the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament.

Without that run, Relentless would've been runner-up yet again.

The team captured a win Sunday, December 4, 2016, in the opening event of the Florida Keys Gold Cup Series, scoring 15 releases to Last Dance's 14 in the two-day tournament. At 11:50 a.m. Sunday, Relentless had nine sailfish releases while Last Dance led the 21-team field with 11.

Three minutes later, Relentless started its tournament-winning run. Angler Jimmy Hendrix accounted for three of the six releases. James David, Fenton Langston and Debbie David recorded the other three.

Islamorada Sailfish Tournament runner-up 2016
Last Dance finished second in the tournament with 14 releases. Team member Matt McLean was named the top angler.Courtesy Islamorada Sailfish Tournament

Last Dance, the only other team to record a release during that 35-minute span, recorded two more releases in the afternoon but couldn't find a third to pull even with Relentless in points.

This is another top finish for Capt. Paul Ross' crew, which was runner-up to One Up in last year's tournament. Hell Reyzer (11 releases) finished third. Cloud Nine (10 releases) and Catchalottafish (10 releases) rounded out the top five in a field that included 96 anglers scoring 172 sailfish releases.

Matt McLean, part of the Last Dance team, was top angler with eight releases. Miss Emma's Erik Perna was second and Hell Reyzer's Michelle Beltran was third. Beltran also was the top female angler and Perna was the top junior angler.

Prime Time was recognized for most tagged fish, with five. Crews tagged 13 of the 172 sailfish releases.

The Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament, held January 20-21, is the next leg of the Florida Keys Gold Cup Series. The last leg is the Islamorada Fishing Club Sailfish Tournament, on January 26.

Islamorada Sailfish Tournament third-place finisher 2016
Hell Reyzer's team celebrated a third-place finish, with 11 releases. Team member Michelle Beltran also was named the top female angler for the tournament.Courtesy Islamorada Sailfish Tournament
top junior angler Islamorada Sailfish Tournament 2016
Miss Emma's Erik Perna, who was the second overall angler in the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament, was the top junior angler.Courtesy Islamorada Sailfish Tournament