(Dec. 10, 2012 - ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys)...
Teammates aboard the Viva la Vida are certainly "living the life"after earning top honors and a check for more than $11,000 at the 49th annual Islamorada Sailfish Tournament that ended Dec. 2.
Islamorada’s Captain Nick Ewald led anglers Eric Darville of Cutler Bay, Fla., and Islamorada residents Travis Upchurch and Jimmy Fickling to release 14 sailfish during three days of fishing.
For the second consecutive year, special guest and tournament angler Captain "Wild"Bill Wichrowski, skipper of the fishing vessel Cape Caution from the popular Discovery Channel television show "Deadliest Catch,"presented the top trophies.
Fishing the event for the sixth time, Key Largo’s Shawn MacMullin Jr., age 12, landed three sailfish to capture the junior angler title for the second year.
Second place overall with 13 releases went to the Islamorada boat Relentless. Captain Paul Ross led teammates Fenton Langston of Ocean Reef, Fla., Jimmy Hendrix of Islamorada and tournament veterans Jimmy and Debbie David of Hollywood, Fla. Debbie David’s three releases earned her the event’s top lady angler award.
On day three, team Predator came from behind to place third with 10 releases. Anglers were Jeff Moore of Jacksonville, Fla.; Mike Cook of Broomall, Pa.; Don Gaytos of Medford, N.J., and Islamorada’s Ross Demarzo. At the helm was Islamorada’s Captain Augie Wampler.
Overall, 93 anglers on 25 boats released 157 sailfish, according to tournament organizer Dianne Harbaugh.
The Islamorada Sailfish Tournament is the first leg of the renowned triple-crown Florida Keys Gold Cup Sailfish Championship series. The series continues with the Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament set for Jan. 17-19, 2013, and the Islamorada Fishing Club Sailfish Tournament scheduled Jan. 23-24.