The Florida Keys, FL – A record 113 anglers boarded 44 boats on June 9th for what would be a great day of fishing in the Florida Keys Elks Lodge’s 6th Annual Ladies Dolphin Tournament. The combined weight of three fish would determine the winners, in this one-day fishing event. “We had great weather and a fantastic turn out” stated tournament co-director Dianne Harbaugh. The tournament kicked off with a boatload of shrimp from Shrimp Improvement Systems along with heavyhors d’oeuvres.
When the weigh scales closed at 5 PM on Saturday, Captain Justin Matson last year’s winning captain, fishing aboard the Smoke Show would lead his anglers to victory. It would be Rebecca Brito from Tavernier, FL with the largest fish of the tournament weighing 23.9 pounds that would net her an additional $1,000.00 check sponsored by Yamaha Outboards plus the amazing gold Dolphin pendant from DePaula Jewelers. Rebecca was fishing with Michala Laufle and Brittany Block also from Tavernier, FL. Mate Spencer Holeman would gaff the big fish and another two weighing 7.2 and 8.9 pounds for the ladies producing a combined winning weight of 40.0 pounds. First place tiaras and trophies, sponsored by Upper Keys Marine Construction were awarded to the winners along with a large cooler bag full of valuable prizes and a check for $3,000.00. Captain Matson and his mate received artwork sponsored by Caribee Boat Sales.
11-year-old junior angler Abigale Varela from Miami, FL was awarded the Keys Tropical Windows top Junior Angler award along with a stunning tiara. Abigale was fishing with her best friend and Cousin Victoria Puente aboard Victoria’s dad’s boat the Bottom Line. Abigale weighed in a 5.5 pound Dolphin
Second place awards, sponsored by Tackle Center of Islamorada, went to Cooper City, FL residents Dania Benito, Karen Tillinghost and Gianna Rivera. The ladies fish were caught aboard the Playpen captained by Sandy Voll. The team weighed in Dolphin of 14.4 pounds plus a 10.1 and 6.9 pounder for a total of 31.4 pounds. The team took home a travel bag full of items donated by local businesses, trophies, plus a check for $1500.00
The Last Dance captained by Robert Collins and mate Brandon Hopper would lead anglers Jamie Smith and Lindsea White from Tavernier, FL along with Taylor Buggia and Jenny Mason of Islamorada, FL to the American Legion Post 145 sponsored third place trophies. The team weighed in three fish of 11.4, 10.5 and 5.8 for a total of 27.7 pounds. The team also received a travel bag of goodies and a check for $1000.00
Prizes were awarded to the top 10 teams. 4th Place would go to Nuff Said anglers Erica LeClair, Candace Everett and Tammy Wilson who would weigh in a total of 26.9 pounds. 5th place anglers Dawn DeBrule and Jessica Morris weighed a total of 21.6 pounds on the Redneck Waterbed. 6th place Reel Deal anglers Marie Baragona, Susan and Brianna Garrison weighed in a total of 20.8 pounds. Wine Knot angler Janene Fleming weighed three fish totaling 19.4 pounds for 7th place. Local charter boat Gonfishin V with anglers Kellie Pardo and Chris Sullivan weighed in 18.9 pounds of dolphin for 8th place. Charter boat Playbaby took 9th place with anglers Katie and Samantha Spaulding fishing with Samantha Turner weighing in 18.4 pounds total. 10th Place was Marleena Fizer, Catherine Walters and Penny Elder weighing in 18.2 pounds aboard the Hell-Bent.
The awards ceremony was fit for the Queens of the fishing world. “It was great to be able to fill our top 10 winner’s bags with such wonderful items from business throughout the Upper Keys” stated tournament co-director Denny Tarbell. “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.” A cooler full of booze was awarded to the lucky raffle ticket holder and the evening concluded with a silent auction, which was once again filled with items from 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 website at www.floridakeyselks1872.com or call 305-852-1872.