Relentless Boat in 2014 IST
The 51st Annual Islamorada Sailfish Tournament hosted 23 boats with 90 anglers. Great sailfish action continued over the three days of fishing that concluded on December 7th. In total, 202 Sailfish were released out of the 230 called in hook-ups and over $80,000 was paid out to the winners. Captain Paul Ross led anglers Fenton Langston from Ocean Reef, FL, Jimmy Hendrix of Tavernier, FL, along with Debbie and Jimmy David of Fort Lauderdale, FL, to the winner’s circle. The team, fishing aboard the Relentless, released a total of 16 sailfish over the three day event. Captain “Wild” Bill Wichrowski of the fishing vessel Cape Caution from the Discovery Channel television show, ‘Deadliest Catch,’ presented the beautiful hand crafted Jimmy Mac sailfish trophies sponsored by Yamaha Outboards. The team also won over $35,000.00 in prize money.
Anglers were greeted with rough seas and windy conditions as they reached the edge of the reef for the first day of fishing. Angler Steve Hatala from Saint Clair Shores, Michigan fishing aboard the Kay K IV would release the first Sailfish of the tournament at 8:43AM. Captain David Morris aboard the Nancy Lee lead his team of anglers, Reinaldo Diaz from New York, NY along with Mike Myers of Sarasota, FL and Steve Smith from Port Clinton, Ohio to a triple header of sails just before 10AM. Mates Colby Mason and Matt Guthrie would grab the leaders releasing all three fish. The Nancy Lee continued to pick away throughout the day. They would be in the lead at the end of day one with a total of 9 sails released.
Day two produced at least one release for every boat in the tournament. Silent Hunter would be high hook for the day with 7 releases. The Nancy Lee would only find two sails on the second day. It would be another steady day for Olympic Gold as they added 6 fish to their 5 releases from the first day. The combined totals of both days left all three boats with 11 releases. The Olympic Gold would have 11 releases before Silent Hunter and Nancy Lee putting them in the lead.
The final day of fishing would be a beautiful day with light breezes from the north and north west. It would turn out to be the day for the team aboard Relentless. The team hooked a sail at 12:26 followed by two more at 12:34 giving them a triple header. Jimmy Hendrix would release the first fish at 12:39. Relentless’ anglers would hook up two more fish two minutes later. The Relentless landed the quadruple header thrusting them into the lead by one fish. When the committee boat called lines out at 3PM on Sunday both the Relentless and Nancy Lee were still fighting sails. Both teams would release the fish putting the Relentless in the winner’s circle. Angler Debbie David would release 10 of the 16 sailfish aboard the Relentless and be the top lady angler of the tournament. Debbie was awarded the Mercedes Benz of Cutler Bay sponsored hand crafted sailfish on a painted canvas by Jimmy Mac.
Nancy Lee would take second place with 9 releases the first day, 2 the second and 4 on the final day. Beautiful hand crafted circle hook trophies sponsored by Tackle Center of Islamorada were presented to the team.
It would be the Olympic Gold’s anglers Doug Mientkiewicz from Islamorada, FL along with Reggie Rodriguez, Max Tower and Chris Marvel all from Miami, FL led by Captain Jim Mulcahy that would land in third place with mate Fulton Ivy assisting in the team’s 12 releases. Boat Goat Scrub sponsored sailfish prints by Tim Rahn Photography would be presented to the team.
At age 14, Shawn MacMullin Jr. of Key Largo, FL would win the High Point Angler award for the second time in three years. Shawn received a Jimmy Mac original sailfish with LED lighted ballyhoo in the background sponsored by Caribee Boat Sales and Marina. As high point angler Shawn’s name will once again be added to the Bill Hirni memorial trophy. Shawn fishing as the only angler with his father Shawn MacMullin Sr. and mate Greg Dunning aboard the Prime Time would release 12 sailfish over the three days. Shawn would also take home the top junior angler trophy a beautiful lighted sandblasted sailfish on glass sponsored by Mangrove Mike’s Café. 8 of the sails would be tagged and the team on the Prime Time received original tag trophies created just for the tournament by Jimmy Mac Designs.
The Islamorada Sailfish Tournament is the first leg of the Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship. The Relentless is currently in the lead with 16 fish. Second place in the Gold Cup is the Olympic Gold with 12 releases and third is the Silent Hunter with 12 releases. The next leg of the series is the Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament January 15th through 17th. The champions will be crowned at the Islamorada Fishing Clubs Sailfish Tournament on January 22, 2015.
“Whale Harbor served up another great event,” stated tournament director Dianne Harbaugh. “The mini seafood buffet on the kick off night was fantastic. The awards banquet was hand served by the exceptional staff at Wahoo’s restaurant. I cannot express my gratitude to Howard Brody and his staff for doing such an amazing job.” The Islamorada Sailfish Tournament is the primary fund raiser for the Islamorada Charter Boat Association and will continue the fight to preserve and protect the fabulous fishing in the Florida Keys. More information on the Islamorada Sailfish Tournament can be found on their website.