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Category: Fishing


For a third year in a row (okay, not counting pandemic 2020), team Florida Man crushed it. They took top prize in The Emerald Coast Open, the world’s largest lionfish tournament, held off Destin May 14 to May 16.  Marathon local Rachel Bowman is a member of Florida Man or, in her case, Florida Ma’am. The team collected 1,371 fish — or about 40% more than their closest competitor, the Stamps team. The other Florida Man team members are John McCain, Josh Livingston and Carl Antonik. Bowman has high praise for her teammates.  “Those guys are all technical divers and I learn a lot just...

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Marathon man catches 488-pound swordfish on May 2

Okay, it was a swordfish, but “Holy Mackerel!” is the edited version of what angler Rob Helzer and his crew were screaming when the 488-pound swordfish jumped for the first time. He and friends Rob Warburton, Jim and Kathy Carter and John Rooks landed the fish on May 2. “We were straight out of Marathon, about 42 miles, fishing in 1,800 feet of water,” Helzer said. It was their third swordfishing trip and while they had hooked some big ones before, this was the first one they got all the way to the boat. “We had hooked into a few others, but what a dandy this was!” he said. “It was a team effort.”  The...

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Bonefish & Tarpon Trust announces 2021 Circle of Honor inductees

Capt. Bob Branham and the late Capt. Bill Curtis are new Bonefish & Tarpon Trust Circle of Honor inductees. Recognized on April 22, they join other legendary anglers, fishing guides and conservation leaders who have made significant contributions to the conservation of the bonefish, tarpon and permit fisheries. The BTT Circle of Honor is housed as a permanent exhibit in the Keys History & Discovery Center, located in Islamorada on the property of the Islander Resort, and features an annually rotating exhibit on those honored as well as educational content about the significance of the...

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The grouper and hogfish seasons both open this Saturday, May 1. Celebrate the day by joining the 2nd Annual Jeff Leonia Reel & Steel Classic, the only fishing/spearfishing tournament in the Keys. There’s a 7 a.m. start, and weigh-ins and afterparty will take place at Angler House Marina (80500 Overseas Hwy., Islamorada).  Jeff Leonia was an avid waterman and captain in the Upper Keys. His passing in Nov. 2019 left a legacy of living large and loving big that his friends and family continue to honor to this day.  Leonia’s friend and fellow captain Tony Young, of Forever Young Charters, said,...

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Imagine this: You are a fine-arts painter during the pandemic. Quarantined at home, you cast about for something to do, just like the rest of the world. Then — bingo — you stumble onto a new painting technique and become obsessed.  Feverishly perfecting your work and making print after beautiful print, a gallery owner falls in love with your paintings, then requests a shipment so they can be displayed in the gallery.  You roll up all your paintings in a tube and confidently ship all paintings via FedEx — dutifully requesting tracking information and insurance. Then the entire shipment is lost....

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If you ever want a conversation to get heated on a community Facebook page, lob out this question: “Hey, do you think we should have lobster mini-season?” Then buckle up and enjoy the ride. Keys Weekly did a search on “lobster mini-season” on a local Facebook page, and we saw a post that said, “I just want to remind people that mini-lobster season is not for taking small lobster.” Commenters responded, “I wish they would do away with mini-lobster season,” and “We never go out for mini stupid season. I hide. Too many amateurs on the water with no regard to safety.” Also: “I say close mini-season...

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I’m not a dedicated fisherman. Yes, I always keep a few fishing poles onboard and I have a small collection of lures. All of it is “simple school.” I thoroughly enjoy using a cast net for shrimp and bait fish. And, I’m seriously impressed with how much money some folks invest in fishing equipment and rigging for the boat. I’m more impressed with the items they overlook. A few weeks back a fellow in the marina was staring up at his new outriggers as I was walking by. I stopped and joined him in his admiration. This, of course, led to cold beer and some fish stories.  A week later I saw his boat...

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By: Tiffany Duong and Justin Benson Easter Sunday looked a little different at Key Dives. The crew and community of divers all pitched in for another Trash Trek. These dives are a shop specialty, where participants help remove trash from local reefs while enjoying their beauty. Everyone is invested in the health of the oceans and has the opportunity to help with their own two hands. On the holiday morning, the dive boat was dedicated to a full-day trip. Everyone was eager and on board to dive with a purpose. Their targets were Bishop, Crater and Mosh Pit reefs in Islamorada. Despite choppy conditions...

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