Eighteen-year-old Nick Cardella of Delray Beach, Fla., caught and released 48 redfish in a single day to win the title of young-adult grand champion in the RedGhost Stalk Fishing Tournament held July 28 in Islamorada.
Cardella was guided by Captain Larry Sydnor of Key Largo, Fla.
“Having a good captain helped a lot,” said Cardella, who also won the tournament twice as a junior angler. “I couldn’t have done it without that.”
With his 2008 tournament win, Cardella earned a coveted invitation to enter the 2009 Florida Keys Outfitters/International Game Fish Association Inshore World Championship.
“That’s a huge honor — that’s like the mac daddy of them of all,” he said.
Though his tournament catches were all landed using a spinning reel and artificial soft plastic jerk baits, Cardella also is a fly fisherman who has earned three IGFA junior world records and one IGFA world record.
Another 18-year old, Dylan Moeller of Islamorada, was named first runner-up for catching three bonefish and 15 redfish. He was guided by Captain Mark Gilman of Tavernier, Fla.
Eighteen appeared to be the magic age for the tournament’s anglers — including fly division grand champion and second runner-up Jared Raskob of Key Largo.
Raskob caught two bonefish and four redfish on fly, guided by Captain Mark Cockerham of Islamorada. As the fly champion, Raskob also received an invitation to enter the 2009 IGFA Inshore World Championship.
The junior division grand champion was 14-year old Parker Smith from Cordova, Tenn., who caught 28 redfish and was guided by Captain David Denkert of Islamorada.
The seventh annual RedGhost Stalk was presented by the Islamorada Fishing and Conservation Trust and the Islamorada Fishing Club for junior anglers ages 9-16 and young adults ages 17-29.
Thirty-six anglers on 33 boats caught and released 22 bonefish and 197 redfish longer than 20 inches during the tournament.