Two Fort Myers, Florida, anglers each caught and released their first blue marlin to elevate their Moppy Dick II team to the top position in the Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament that ended Saturday, July 23, in Key West, Florida. They also walked off with a $25,000 first-place cash prize.
Dan Richards released his fish, estimated at roughly 100 pounds on Saturday and his teammate Harry Cameron reeled in his approximately 150-pound marlin on Friday, the second day of the three-day tournament.
Ironically, both fish were caught on the same lure, a green-and-yellow jethead, within a mile of each other and about the same time in the mid-morning.
“That was our strategy today (Saturday),” said Bob Beasley, another angler from Fort Myers Beach. “We wanted to go back to the same place and see if we could get lucky again.”
The boat’s captain, Ronald Lea, a retired optometrist from Fort Myers Beach, was elated with the victory and thanked owner Richard Haskins, who was not onboard for the victory.
“He had sponsored us all these years even though we’ve never caught anything,” said Lea. “When he gets his voicemail, he’ll be extremely surprised.”
On Course, captained by Bill Curry of Tampa, Florida, took second place with a blue marlin released on Saturday by angler Mike Zalewski of Seminole, Florida. That release was combined with an 18.95-pound dolphin caught by Ryan Harrington of Tierra Verde, Florida, and a 25.9-pound dolphin caught Friday by Bob Dietz of Tampa.
Blue Heaven, with Tampa angler Steve Swindale, released a blue marlin and caught a 16.85-pound wahoo for third place, fishing with Capt. Ed Thompson of Tarpon Springs, Florida.
The contest, held during Key West’s annual Hemingway Days, attracted 250 anglers who fished on 44 boats, according to tournament director Tim Greene.
For more information on the Drambuie Key West Blue Marlin Tournament, visit www.keywestmarlin.com.