The Florida Keys Elks Lodge 1872 in Tavernier, Florida put on the 2nd Annual Ladies Dolphin Tournament of the Florida Keys. A flat, calm day with sunny skies awaited 83 lady anglers fishing aboard 34 boats. It would be the combined weight of the three biggest fish that would determine the top 10 winning teams.
When the weight scales closed at 5 p.m. on Saturday June 8, Mark Wheaton with mate Danny Vinco fishing aboard their boat Hooked Up led anglers, Sidney Valdes from Marathon, Florida fished with Tiara and Tiffany Wheaton from Key Largo, FL and Tracey Reilly also from Key Largo, to the winners circle. First place tiaras and trophies, sponsored by Riva Motorsports were awarded to the ladies along with a cooler full of valuable prizes and a check for $3,000.00. Pasta Pantaleo and Carey Chen prints went to the captain and mate, sponsored by Yamaha Outboards and Caribee Boat Sales. The ladies three Dolphin weighed 14.2-, 22.6- and 28.1-pounds for a winning combination of 64.9-pounds. Sidney Valdes was crowned as Junior Champion with her 14.2-pounder.
Second place, sponsored by Tackle Center of Islamorada, went to lone angler Robyn Frick of Tavernier, FL. Fishing aboard the Big Huie with Captain Tom Meyers and his family friend Jeff. Robyn weighed in a 19.3-, 8.2-, and 22.1-pound dolphin. Her total of 49.6-pounds landed her a check for $1500.00 and a boatload of prizes.
Captain Reese Lewis fished his charter boat The Natural took home a check for $1,000 and trophies sponsored by Keys Tropical Windows and Doors. Third place angler Eva Lewis from Little Torch Key, Florida weighed in a 20.4-, 19.2- and 7.0-pound Dolphin for a total of 46.6 pounds and was also awarded a cooler full of goodies.
The largest fish of the tournament was weighed in by Cathy Russo from Davie Florida. Fishing with John McGee and Tim Russo aboard the Pile Em In, Cathy weighed in a 30.7-pound fish. Cathy was presented a tiara along with a check for $1,000 and beautiful gold diamond studded dolphin pendant from DePaula Jewelers.
The Ladies Dolphin Tournament of the Florida Keys awards prize packages to the top 10 teams full of valuable prizes from local businesses. The fourth place team was Reef Freak from Tavernier, followed by Pile Em In from Davie, Florida, Last Dance from Islamorada, Killin Time out of Key Largo, No Slack from Miami, Plan B from Islamorada and the Caloosa Cove charter boat TIKI.
The Florida Keys Elks Lodge is located at Mile Marker 92.5 in Tavernier. It started the show on Friday June 7 with a fun day that included a casting contest, fishing from the dock, free paddle board lessons from paddle the Florida Keys, vendor booths and a bounce house for the kids. Friday evening the anglers and their crews were treated to a boat full of shrimp, from Shrimp Improvement Systems, along with heavy hors d’oeuvres that were fantastic. Everyone boasted finding acres of schoolie dolphin during the awards banquet. Bigger fish were harder to come by. The awards dinner and ceremony were fit for the “Queens” of the fishing world.
“It was great to be able to fill our top 10 winner’s cooler bags with such wonderful items from business thru out the upper keys” said tournament director Dianne Harbaugh. “I am so proud to have been a part of this event. The Elks have such wonderful charities that this event will help to support. This was the result of a lot of hard work from a great team of people who all came together and put on a tremendous show.”
The evening concluded with a silent auction, which was once again filled with items for our great community. The Elks Lodge is looking forward to a bigger and better event next year. If you would like to become a member or for more information on the Elks and the charities they support visit the web site at www.floridakeyselks1872.com or call 305-852-1872.