Son Karl J. Paganelli of Belmont caught the tournament’s heaviest kingfish at 32 pounds, 4 ounces, while father Karl A. Paganelli of Sand Lake scored the heaviest mutton snapper at 15 pounds and the heaviest yellowtail snapper at 3.22 pounds.
They fished on the Super Grouper I with Captain Chip Veach of Key West, who was named the tournament’s outstanding captain.
The Paganelli duo also teamed with the captain’s daughter, 10-year-old Isabelle Veach of Key West, to win the award for the most permit releases. Father and son each released four permit and Veach added one for a team total of nine.
Veach’s permit, a 12-pounder, earned her the junior division heaviest catch award.
The kickoff launched the annual Key West Fishing Tournament, which celebrates the rich variety of species found in Florida Keys waters while providing a sport-fishing challenge for enthusiasts.
Contestants in the kickoff vied to post the most releases in six target species and catch the heaviest fish in nine species.
Other winners included Pat Bennett of Weston, Florida, who released 36 barracuda and 7 bonefish, taking top honors for both species. Bennett fished on The Outcast with Captain Tim Carlile of Sugarloaf Key, Florida.
The father-and-son team of David Stern and Logan Stern, both of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, outfished other tarpon contenders to earn divisional honors. David Stern released seven tarpon and Logan Stern contributed two while fishing on the New Horizons with Key West’s Captain Bruce Cronin.
Fish caught during the kickoff also qualify for the 52nd annual Key West Fishing Tournament, which runs through Nov. 30, 2017, and is open to the general public. Nearly 40 species are targeted during the multimonth challenge, with divisions for men, women, junior anglers (ages 10 through 14) and Pee Wees (under 10 years old).
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