Central Florida woman wins Keys dolphin tournament

Linda Bristow of The Villages (an hour north of Orlando) took first place in the 19th annual Big Pine and Lower Keys Dolphin Tournament that ended June 10.

Bristow, who fished aboard the Bull Ship guided by Capt. Pete White, earned the top spot and $7,500 for a dolphin weighing 40.55 pounds. According to White, Bristow caught the fish on a ballyhoo about 30 miles south of American Light off Summerland Key.

“That fish just didn’t want to quit,” White said. “It would just swim back and forth sideways. “It was about a 30- or 35-minute fight.”

The battle for second place was decided by time when two anglers each caught a fish weighing 33.6 pounds.

Ultimately, second-place honors went to Christopher Bradley of Cudjoe Key, Bradley caught his dolphin with Capt. Ray Bailey on the Fin Reaper.

Kathleen Gomez of Ramrod Key placed third after boating her dolphin later than Bradley scored his. She was guided by Capt. Shelby Bentley on the boat Imagine That.

The tournament’s top female angler was Michele Sampson of Key West. She caught a 19.65-pound dolphin on her own boat, Spear It.

In the junior division for anglers ages 15 and under, Austin Malvasio of Southwest Ranches took first place. Fishing on Swallow the Leader skippered by his father Mike, the 13-year-old angler caught a 22.15-pound dolphin.

Additional prizes were awarded to the anglers who caught the heaviest tuna and wahoo. Rob White of Little Torch Key was recognized for a 15.1-pound tuna while Steve McKenna of Cudjoe Key took top wahoo honors with a fish weighing 35.6 pounds.

The tournament drew 174 participants fishing on 64 boats.

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