Vega Cruz and his captain, Will Benson of Key West, tallied three permit on the tournament’s first day of fishing, two on the second day and two more on the final day.
Their releases included a 32.25-incher that was the tournament’s largest single fish.
José Ucan of Punta Allen, Mexico, also released seven permit but finished with 1,050 points and was named first runner-up. Ucan, the defending champion, fished with Key West’s Captain Justin Rea.
Chris Stinnett of New Hope, Pennsylvania, followed Ucan in the standings. He caught and released three permit, earning 450 points, while fishing with Captain Rob Kramarz of Summerland Key, Florida.
Jim Knowles of Round Hill, Virginia, took top honors for bonefish releases with four. He was guided by Captain Peter Heydon of Key West.
Anglers on 22 boats released a total of 29 permit and 13 bonefish in the tournament. The challenge is named for the internationally acclaimed Brown, who caught more than 500 permit during his lifetime.