TAVERNIER, Florida Keys — Heralding the start of the much-anticipated Florida Keys dolphin fishing season, the 11th annual Nick Sheahan Dolphin Rodeo is to test anglers’ skill Friday through Sunday, May 4-6, in Tavernier.
The family-friendly angling challenge is named in honor of Nick Sheahan, a beloved Coral Shores High School student who died tragically in 2004. Events kick off Friday, May 4, with a 6-9 p.m. dinner, silent auction and rules meeting planned at Tavernier Creek Marina, mile marker 90.8.
Adult and junior anglers age 12 and under are to fish Saturday, May 5, from lines-in at 7:30 a.m. to lines-out at 4:30 p.m., and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Cash prizes of $3,000, $1,500 and $1,000 are to be awarded to the top three adult anglers catching the heaviest dolphin fish. First- through third-place trophies and prizes are slated for the top junior anglers.
A $25,000 cash prize awaits an angler who breaks the current Florida state record for dolphin. Prizes also are to be given for the largest wahoo and yellowfin or blackfin tuna. One entry per species per angler is allowed.
Entry fees are $185 per adult and $50 per junior angler.
All proceeds fund the Nick Sheahan Scholarship Fund for graduating seniors at the Upper Keys’ Coral Shores High School. Scholarships to date total a stunning $185,000.
Tournament information: nicksheahan.com
Islamorada visitor information: fla-keys.com/islamorada
Florida Keys fishing information: fla-keys.com/fishing