KEY WEST, Florida Keys - Mike Dawes of Victor, Idaho, caught and released three permit totaling 78 inches to win the 2011 March Merkin Invitational Permit Tournament that ended March 17. Dawes, who was guided by Captain Don Gable of Key West, was named the tournament's grand champion angler.
Dawes' permit measured 28, 26 and 24 inches. As well as points for his releases in the flats-and-fly-only challenge, he and Gable earned additional points for tagging the fish.
"I had a great angler on the bow of my boat," said Gable, who was named guide to the grand champion and praised the event's high level of competition. "This was our fourth year in the tournament, and I think angler-captain teamwork makes the difference."
The tournament's first runner-up was Jon Ain of Vail, Colo., and Sugarloaf Key, Fla. Guided by Captain Doug Kilpatrick of Summerland Key, Fla., Ain released two permit with a combined length of 46 inches.
Doug Behrman of Tallahassee, Fla., was named second runner-up angler for his 29-inch permit and also earned honors for scoring the tournament's largest single catch. Behrman's guide was Captain Kevin Guerin of Helena, Mont., and Summerland Key
Twenty-six teams of permit enthusiasts fished the tournament, with proceeds benefiting the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Don Hawley Foundation.