Islamorada Fishing Reports

2016 Bartenders Sailfish Tournament

February 15, 2016 by Matt Bellinger

Trip Info

The Catch

Dillon’s Pub and Grill reclaims Bartenders Perpetual Trophy
​The 35th Annual Islamorada Bartenders Sailfish Open kicked off with great food and fun at the Lorelei Restaurant and Cabana Bar.  52 anglers, who are bartenders or restaurant employees representing 16 different bars, braved occasional rain and very windy conditions to catch and release sailfish on February 15th. At 9:14 Erica Rogers fishing aboard the Bali Hai for the Ocean View Sports Pub (O.V), released the first fish of the tournament.  Only three minutes later Skyler McGarry fishing for Dillions Pub and Grill, aboard the Hey Papa, would release the next fish. Green Turtle angler Amber Singer would be the next to release a Sailfish.  Amber was fishing aboard the Esperanza. 
​At 9:33 Hey Papa would call in another hook up.  Before that fish was released they called in another hook up at 9:49.  Skyler would release his at 10:14 and Ramanda would release the second at 10:19 boosting the Dillon’s team into the lead with 3 releases. Another release at 10:14 would go to Bumby’s angler Tony Golden aboard the Challenger2.  By noon the Playbaby, fishing Tom Kahler from Marker 88 restaurant, would release a sail. 
​Stephanie Bryant would get a release at 1:08.  Stephanie was fishing aboard the Floridian for Wahoo’s at Whale Harbor.  At 1:19 Bali Hai called in a double header.  One fish was lost but angler Sean Pearce released his sail giving the OV 2 releases.  Then shortly after 2PM the Challenger2 called in a triple header.  One fish was lost but the Challenger2 would fight the other two fish for over 20 minutes before Captain Rob Dixon called the committee boat and announced they were down to one fish.  10 minutes later anger Chris Cash would release a fish putting Bumby’s in 3rd place. 
​During the last hour of fishing 5 sailfish were released.  The first one would be released by Bad Habit’s angler Hayley Rosser, fishing for last year’s champions Hog Heaven Sports Bar, followed by Francesco Bancy fishing for Chef Michael’s aboard the Cloud 9.  Then the Challenger would hook up and angler Kim Tomic would release the Sailfish putting Bumby’s in second place.  Angler Carrye Gaulin aboard the Bad Habit would release the teams second fish and the last fish of the tournament would be released by angler Kylie Cisco fishing aboard the Sockittoem for the Whistle Stop. 
​In the end, Dillon’s Pub and Grill would take home the perpetual Grand Champion trophy with their 3 releases on time.  The team was also awarded a check for $1,000 sponsored in part by the Ocean View Lounge and Mangrove Mikes Café in memory of Trapper John, who was a long time bartender and participant in the event.  In addition, the friends of Dirrk Reich sponsored cash awards for the winning captain and mate. 
​A beautifully designed Jimmy Mac bar trophy would go to second place Bumby’s anglers Kim Tomic, Chris Cash, Tony Golden, Meagan Hylton and Darin Goertzen.  3rd place, Bali Hai also received a Jimmy Mac bar trophy for the Ocean View Sports Pub.
​First place angler award would go to Skyler McGarry.  He would be awarded a beautiful bronze sailfish trophy and the Founders Award in memory of Jayanna Cohan, who founded the Bartenders tournament, 35 years ago.  2nd place angler Erica Rogers from Hog Heaven, 3rd place angler Amber Singer, from Green Turtle, and 4th place angler Tony Golden from Bumby’s were all awarded Lobster Trap Art Gallery trophies.  The most outstanding catch award went to angler Erica Rogers from The Ocean View Sports Pub with a nice Kingfish.  The hard luck basket of booze from Martini’s Fine Wine and Spirits went to Hog Heaven Sports Bar who had boat trouble all day long but still managed to brave the rough and windy conditions.
​The Lorelei treated anglers to a fabulous kick off and awards ceremony on the beach.  “My favorite part of this tournament is that we have so many anglers who catch and release their first sailfish.  The reason Jayanna Cohan started this tournament was because she loved to sailfish and she wanted others to have the same opportunity.  The conditions were difficult at best and these guys and gals still had a good time.” stated tournament director Dianne Harbaugh.

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