After winning the 48th annual Islamorada Sailfish Tournament on December 4, the team on Bodacious accepted the winning trophy from tournament angler and special guest Capt. “Wild” Bill Wichrowski, skipper of the fishing vessel Kodiak from Deadliest Catch, the popular Discovery Channel television show.
Islamorada’s Capt. Taylor Walsh led Bodacious‘ quartet of anglers — including Henry and Shay Danzig, Allen Wood and BD Pro Staffer Nick Stanczyk — to 22 sailfish releases over the course of the three-day tournament.
Entering the third day with 19 sails and a slight lead, the Bodacious team focused on location and patience.
“We knew we were in an area where there were fish,” said Henry Danzig. “We just stayed calm and waited our turn.”
The team released the day’s third and final sail at 2:54 p.m., just minutes before lines-out was called at 3 p.m.
Shawn MacMullin Jr. of Key Largo, Florida, also scored a memorable tournament win. The 11-year-old not only has fished the event five times, but his eight sailfish were caught and released in the shortest time. For that feat, MacMullin was named overall high-point angler and captured the junior angler title. And, a lucky raffle drawing landed MacMullin a sailfish pendant valued at $500.
Wild Bill Wichrowski, who fished the tournament on board My Reel Job, asked the boy to autograph the winning ticket and give it to him for good luck fishing back in Alaska.
Second place overall went to Contagious, out of Islamorada, with 20 releases. Capt. Brian Cone led teammates Bill Keller, Travis Bennett and Greg Toplin.
The team aboard Wound Up, skippered by John Dudas of Miami, placed third with nine releases. Anglers were Warren Sands, Jeff Liederman and Robbie Ramirez.
Team Bodacious will receive an invitation to the 2012 IGFA Offshore Championship for the tournament win.
Overall, the fleet released 261 sailfish. The Islamorada Sailfish Tournament is the first leg of the Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship. Next in the series is the Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament, scheduled January 20-22, with the final leg being the January 26 IFC Sailfish Tournament.