07 June 2017
BIG PINE KEY, Florida Keys — Team Chase Me scored a 40.5-pound dolphin fish to take first place in the 24th annual Big Pine & Lower Keys Dolphin Tournament that ended June 4.

Jason Johnson of Cudjoe Key, Florida, captained the boat and caught the fish that earned the team $7,500. Other Chase Me team members were Johnson’s wife Lisa Ferringo and their son, 7-year-old Chase Johnson.

“We were in 630 feet of water about 20 miles out of Big Pine when Jason got the fish by casting,” said Ferringo, who reported they used ballyhoo as bait.

Second place went to the team aboard High Class Hooker, skippered by Jerry Pope of Key West, Florida. Team member Tom Phillips of Sugarloaf Key, Florida, caught a 39.9-pound dolphin to secure the second spot.

The Reel Conch team, captained by Randy Sterling Jr. of Key West, earned third place for a dolphin weighing 37.7 pounds that was caught by Key West’s Shane Curry.

The top female angler was Tanya Toro of Miami, Florida. She caught a 25.9-pound dolphin while fishing on the boat Half Time with Miami’s Captain Spencer Deno.

In the junior division, Austin Malvasio of Southwest Ranches, Florida, took first place. Fishing on Swallow the Leader skippered by his father, Captain Mike Malvasio, the young angler caught a 28-pound dolphin.
According to event organizers, the challenge drew 155 participants fishing on 36 boats. 

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