Photos by Mary D. Griffin Photography
Skippers Dockside Restaurant, in Key Largo, hosted the 7th Annual Skippers Dolphin Tournament with ninety one teams made up of 364 anglers competing for over $101,000 in cash plus amazing trophies from King Sailfish Mounts and other prizes. Anglers were allowed to weigh two fish on Saturday and two on Sunday but it would be the combined weight of three fish that would determine the winners.
Jeremy Mathis, Dave Hodgert, Brian, Matthew and Andrew Gazolli all from Key Largo, FL would find themselves in the winner’s circle after the two day competition. The team started off with a bang. Brian Gazzoli weighed in the largest fish ever caught in the seven year history of the Skippers Dolphin Tournament a 49.1 pound Dolphin winning just over $10,000.00 for that fish. Junior angler Matthew Gazolli landed a 16.6 pounder winning largest fish by a junior angler. On day three the team’s biggest was 4.7 pounds but that was all it took to win the overall title with a total of 70.4 pounds. Out N Back took home a combined purse that totaled just over $40,000.00 plus a multitude of trophies and other prizes.
Ross Fischer and Alex Smith from Hollywood, Florida lead lady anglers Michelle Schecht also from Hollywood and Paige Obrig from SW Ranches, FL to a second place finish aboard the Pau Hana. The ladies would catch the largest fish on day two along with the second largest of that day, 25.7 and 20.3 pounds. Their 3.7 pound fish weighed in on day one would give the team a total of 49.7 pounds winning over $23,000.00 in cash plus trophies and prizes.
Team Contagious with Captain Brian Cone at the helm would win his team over $11,000.00 in cash plus a plethora of trophies and prizes. Don DeLeon of Goulds, FL would win largest fish by a senior angler, 8. 3 pounds, Andy Cone from Tavernier, FL would land the second largest by a junior angler weighing in at 7.8 pounds. The team included Don DeLeon from Goulds, FL along with Reef Bennett from Tavernier, FL and his dad Travis Bennett who landed the second largest fish on day one, a 20.0 pounder that would round out the three biggest for the team, making their total 36.1 pounds.
Fourth Place team was Back in Business with team anglers Amanda Gilbert from Clearwater, FL and Audrey Koocher from New York, NY. The teams’ total fish weighed 34.9 pounds that included the third largest fish caught on day two winning over $11,000.00.
Fifth Place team was Captain Dallas Hopper on his charter boat Hop A Long from Key Largo fishing with Forest Lidel from Miami, FL. The team’s fish totaled 23.4 pounds including fourth largest fish on day two for a total of $5,560.00.
Sixth Place team award went to anglers Darrell Dash from Key Largo, FL along with Larry Lankow of Stuart, FL and Paul Lankow from Port St. Lucie, FL weighed in three fish totaling 23 pounds aboard the D-Tails.
Nuff Said angler Bobby Everett landed the second largest fish of the tournament a 42.3 pounder worth $6,130.00. Junior angler Brock Stoky from Key Largo, FL won third place junior angler.
Largest other species fish winners each took home King Sailfish Trophies and $750.00 each including Neil Carlson from Key Largo, FL aboard the Miller Time with a 33.9 pound Kingfish, Team Bacardi angler Steven Boyd also from Key Largo with a 17.7 pound Wahoo and Darryl Ferrell of Florahome, FL with a 24.7 pound tuna.
Skippers Dockside Restaurant showcased their fabulous food for the kick-off party sponsored by Gus’ Toy Box and Contender Boats while anglers checked in and picked up their Tackle Center of Islamorada ditty buckets full of amazing goodies including the lures from Islamorada Flyers. Nitro Bliss hosted the weigh-ins each day with huge spectator participation. Cocktails from Bacardi, Corona, and High Noon kept flowing from kick off, until the awards party which was done up right with perfectly cooked prime rib, racks & racks of bbq ribs and host of other delectable delights, not to mention the Skippers Dockside world famous bread pudding!
For information visit: SkippersTournaments.com