The 42nd Annual Islamorada Bartenders Sailfish Open kicked off with great fun at the Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar. 70 anglers, who are bartenders or restaurant employees representing 15 different bars, released 24 Sailfish on January 30th. With lines in at 8:30 on a pretty day with winds blowing 10-15 out of the east, Captain Brian Cone of the Contagious, called in a hookup almost immediately. It took angler Trevor Bennett only two minutes to wind in his first ever sailfish. Reel McCoy fishing Chef Rolf’s Tunas would release the second fish of the tournament only minutes later for angler Justin Beauregard. Barbara Steller fishing for Robbie’s aboard the Dirty Boat 2.0 and Skyler McGarry fishing aboard the Broad Minded for Dillon’s both released a sail before 9AM. By noon Ann Jenkins from the Green Turtle, Megan Simpson from Square Grouper, Brandy Albright from Old Tavernier, Andy McGrotha from Islamorada Wind Co. and Osmaro Alvarenga from Shipwrecks would all have released sailfish putting their teams on the board.
Shortly after noon Christina Moreno would release a second fish for the Whistle Stop followed by a second release for Shipwrecks for angler Richard Trachuk. Islamorada Wine Company’s angler Morgan Beaton would release their team’s second fish over ten minutes later. Katie McCormick fishing aboard the Tiki for Lorelei released her first sail just minutes later. Vice Versa Captain Sammy Milazzo called in the team’s second release for Megan Simpson from Square Grouper. Then Trevor Bennett from the Whistle Stop hooked another fish. After a 30 minute battle, mate Justin Matson would release Trevor’s second sail.
Trevor wasn’t done yet. He would release two more sailfish that day helping his team win the Bartenders Sailfish Open perpetual trophy that hasn’t hung on the wall at the Whistle Stop since 1999. Also fishing aboard the Contagious were Whistle Stop anglers Jackie Bohannon and Lauren Johnson. The team took home a check for $1500.00 in memory of Trapper John a long time participant of the tournament. Captain Brian Cone would win the Outstanding Captain award and Mate Justin Matson took home the Outstanding Mate award with the teams 5 releases. Trevor Bennett won first place angler with 4 releases and a Lisa Lee Gyotaku from Gallery of the Arts. His name will be engraved on the JayAnna Cohan founder’s award and he received a check for $500.00,
Megan Simpson’s two releases and one for Ellie Leopold also fishing with anglers Katie Scheu, Valerie Perez, James Pratt, Kenny Sagan and Thomas Frickie would take home Second Place bar awards for the Square Grouper and a check for $1,000.00. Megan would receive the second place angler award.
Third place anglers Omar Alvarenga, Amanda Mitcheltree, Ronald Perrine, Doug Krieger, Carrie Allstop and Richard Trachuk all fishing with Captain Dustin Hansel aboard the Two Reel took home third place bar awards and a check for $500.00 with two releases on time. Third place angler was Justin Beauregard with one release on time for Chef Rolf’s Tunas. Barbara Steller won fourth place angler for her 1 release also on time.
The Lorelei treated anglers to a fabulous kick off and awards ceremony on the beach. “My favorite part of this tournament is that we have so many anglers who catch and release their first sailfish” stated tournament director Dianne Harbaugh. “The reason JayAnna Cohan started this tournament was because she loved to sailfish and she wanted others to have the same opportunity. Because of our newest sponsors Los Cayos Lager, Island Arms and Indoor Range, The Greeen House and of course Dillon’s we were able to payout for all three places this year. I would like to extend a special thank you to all the local businesses who helped to support this event for our hard working bar and restaurant employees!”