Jill Clark knew she had a big problem.
She was hooked up to a sailfish during the first day of the two-day Islamorada Presidential Sailfish Tournament that ended Saturday, Jan. 17.
Clark was battling the fish on Captain Glenn Miller's Wet Dream and husband Kevin was hooked up too.
The fish had stripped some 400 yards of line, jumped off the bow and all of the sudden the fish sounded and went behind the boat.
As she reeled tight, Clark realized the line had become entangled in the boat's propeller.
While Kevin Clark wrangled with his sail, other teammates held Jill by her ankles over the side, her face halfway submerged to maneuver her pole and rod underwater, but the line remained stuck.
According to International Game Fishing Association rules, she would have to unravel her line from the boat prop herself, without anyone else touching it.
With the engines shut down, Jill Clark put her rod in a holder, donned a mask and jumped in.
"I was scared I'd get hit by the boat, it was so rough," she said of waves that sometimes reach six feet high. "But my teammates helped calm me down.
"Thank God that fish ran after it jumped, and just hung out," she said. "Unbelievably, the line was easy to free. I just reached in and un-plucked it."
Twenty minutes later, Kevin Clark landed his sail and within another five minutes Jill Clark -- wet and exhausted -- cranked hers in.
The fish helped Wet Dream take a second-place finish and Jill Clark of Islamorada won the top angler title.
Team Relentless, with Captain Paul Ross at the helm, released 11 sailfish to earn the overall championship.
Relentless anglers included Fenton Langston of Key Largo, Fla., Jimmy Hendrix of Tavernier, Fla., and Debbie and Jimmy David of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., who together have won two of the three tournaments in the Gold Cup Series that concludes Jan. 22.
Reel McCoy, skippered by George McElveen, took third place, with anglers Larry Amyotte of Silver Springs, Fla., Sean Smith of Pompano, Fla., and John Watson from Plantation, Fla. The team's last release was just minutes after Wet Dream's, putting Reel McCoy in third place based on time.
Twenty-seven boats fished the weekend tournament, with 85 anglers releasing a total of 123 sailfish.
The Islamorada Presidential Sailfish Tournament replaced the Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament this year after Cheeca Lodge was forced to close temporarily because of a New Year's Eve fire. Cheeca officials promise their version of the tournament will return in 2010.