Sharon Sydnor putthe men in the back of the boat by winning the Eighth AnnualMercury Outboards Redbone@Large Little Palm Island GrandSlam.
Sharon Sydnor, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.,caught-photographed-and-released three tarpon and a permit thefirst day. Guided by Capt. Tom Kokenge of Big Pine Key, Sharon alsoadded points the second day with three more tarpon and completedher grand slam with a bonefish for a two-day total of 800points.
“She was in the zone,” said her proudhusband Larry, a former winner of this event. The Sydnor’sare both long time supporters, sponsors (A-All Right Signs) andanglers of the charity series for cystic fibrosisresearch.
“She was awesome on the bow, making somegreat casts. She never missed a tarpon. I lost three tarpon, andhad a permit eaten by a shark. But no matter where she put her baitshe got the fish that counted. We were helped getting onto someflats by tilting the Mercury 90hp up on the Hells’ BayMarquesa and poling the boat through the skinny waters,” saidLarry who won the pro-celeb title with a tarpon andbonefish.
Sharon said, “I didn’t feelthe pressure I had last year when I caught 12 tarpon, seven of themin an hour and half. This year all the species in the slam werespaced out⁢ just came together. When I received the awardthe men and the guides all were very gracious coming up andcongratulating me. It was a special two days.”
After the first day of competition most ofthe eyes were on Zicari, of Vero Beach, Fla. who had a grand slamcatching a bonefish, tarpon and permit. On day two, guided by Capt.Mark Krowka, of Davie, Fl., Zicari was able to catch two moretarpon and two bonefish but no more permit. At 700 points he wasjust 100 points shy of catching Sharon.
Another favored anglerwas Jim Bokor,Tavernier, who despite zeroing the first day, made a big comebackthe second catching three tarpon and four bonefish. He was guidedby Capt. Tim Hoover of Duck Key, Fl. He also had 700points.
Bokor, Zicari, Larry Sydnor and Busch ofSt. Louis Mo., are all former champions or top finishers of pastRedbone events.
Another former winner in the celebritydivisions of past Redbone tournaments was former major leaguebaseball slugger Wade Boggs. Capt. Steve Lamp of Big Pine Keyguided him to a lone tarpon on artificial bait helping him win thespin/plug division title based on time against three other anglerscatching fish on spin.
During the two days all of the anglerswere confronted with winds, rain and lightning — what wasdeveloping into Tropical Storm Erika passing through.
Brower Moffitt, from Palm Beach, Fl., wasresilient in winning the fly division champion title despite theblowing winds from the tropical wave. Moffitt caught three tarponon fly. The gold coast angler, guided by Capt. Bruce Stagg, ofIslamorada, also caught the tournament’s biggest bonefish onbait, which measured 25 inches.
Tom and Andy Sommer of O’Fallon,Mo., were the events Father and Son team grand champions. Guided byCapt. Tim Carlile of Sugarloaf Shores, Fla., Tom also caught thelargest permit (27 inches), and the largest tarpon (45 inches),while Andy had the most permit releases with two.
The Couple’s Division grand championanglers were Bill and Colleen Cullen of Miami, who caught fivebonefish between them. They were guided by Capt. Kenny Knudsen ofIslamorada.
The event like most in the Mercury Redboneseries, is a Rolex/IGFA Inshore Championship Tournament qualifier.Ms. Sydnor will be invited to compete against more than 50 otherqualifying champions at the 2004 Rolex/IGFA ICT, a world-classevent.
The tournament was sponsored by MercuryMarine, Little Palm Island, Robert James Sales, Rich Products andthe Monroe County Tourist Development Council.
Upcoming Keys Events
The Little Palm Islandgrand slam was a prelude to the start of next months MercuryRedbone fall trilogy series point’s race. The final three Florida Keysevents of the season are the 14th Annual Mercury S.L.A.M. CelebrityTournament, Sept. 5-7 in Key West (for bonefish, tarpon and permit;the series continues at Key Largo with the 13th annual MercuryBaybone Celebrity Tournament, Oct. 3 (bonefish and permit); and the16th annual Mercury/Cheeca Redbone Celebrity Tournament inIslamorada, December 5-7 (redfish and bonefish). The grand championangler of each tournament wins a stainless steel Rolex timepiece;the series winner receives a gold Rolex.
There are still openings at several of thefall events. For more information on fishing the Mercury Redbonefall series of celebrity tournaments, please call Susan Ellis at305-664-2002 in the Florida Keys.