North Florida Youths Win Islamorada Junior Sailfish Tournament

(Dec. 22, 2011 – ISLAMORADA, Florida Keys)… Besting more than 40 angler competitors, Phillip Hess, age 9, and TJ Bowen, 8, captured top honors at the 47th annual Islamorada Junior Sailfish Tournament that ended Dec. 18.

The Gainesville, Fla., residents fished with Islamorada’s Captain Brian Cone aboard the Contagious, releasing eight sailfish for the win.

Second place overall with five releases went to Viva la Vida. Captain Nick Ewald of Islamorada led solo angler Nicholas Cole from Atlanta, Ga.

Anglers Macy Manning and Ashley Ecklund tallied four releases for third place, fishing on Cloud Nine with Captain Greg Ecklund at the helm. Captain and teammates are from Islamorada.

Overall, 44 sailfish were released with a total of 66 hook ups, according to tournament organizer Tammie Gurgiolo.

More than $10,000 was raised for Toys for Tots, providing gifts and holiday cheer to the area’s needy children, a collaborative effort between members of the U.S. Marines and Captain Michael “Biggs” Biggie of Beards and Grins for boys and girls.

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