KEY WEST, Florida Keys - Two Fort Myers, Fla., anglers caught and released their first blue marlin that garnered their Moppy Dick II team top honors and a $25,000 first-place cash prize at the Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament that ended Saturday, July 23, in the Florida Keys.
Dan Richards released his fish, estimated to weigh 100 pounds, Saturday and Harry Cameron reeled in his approximately 150-pound marlin Friday, the second day of the three-day contest.
Ironically, both fish were caught on the same green-and-yellow jethead lure, within a mile of each other and about the same time in the mid-morning.
"That was our strategy today (Saturday)," said Bob Beasley, another angler from Fort Myers Beach. "We wanted to go back to the same place and see if we could get lucky again."
The boat's captain, Ronald Lea, a retired optometrist from Fort Myers Beach, was elated with the victory and thanked owner Richard Haskins of Fort Myers, who was not onboard for the victory.
"He had sponsored us all these years even though we've never caught anything," said Lea. "When he gets his voicemail, he'll be extremely surprised."
On Course, captained by Bill Curry of Tampa, took second place with a blue marlin released Saturday by angler Mike Zalewski of Seminole, Fla. That release was combined with an 18.95-pound dolphin caught Thursday by Ryan Harrington of Tierra Verde, Fla., and a 25.9-pound dolphin caught Friday by Bob Dietz of Tampa.
Blue Heaven, with Tampa angler Steve Swindale, released a blue marlin and caught a 16.85-pound wahoo for third place with Captain Ed Thompson of Tarpon Springs, Fla.
The contest, held during Key West's annual Hemingway Days, attracted about 250 anglers who fished on 44 boats, according to tournament director Tim Greene.
The 2012 Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament is scheduled for July 18-21. More details on the tournament at www.keywestmarlin.com.