Guided by Islamorada’s Captain Mark Gilman, McGraw released 10 tarpon, 10 snook and four redfish, all on bait, as well as three redfish using artificial tackle to take the overall win and the general tackle division trophy.
Each year the tournament honors Veterans Day by hosting two soldiers wounded in the wars in the Middle East.
U.S. Army Sgt. Justin Burdette of Palm Bay, Florida, and Travis Green of Canyon Lake, Texas, a gunnery sergeant with the U.S. Marine Corps, earned the annual challenge’s grand champion team honors. Guided by Captain Mike Makowski of Key Largo, Florida, the duo released 10 snook, one tarpon and one redfish, all on bait.
Fishing legend and author Stu Apte, guided by Captain Dave Denkert of Islamorada, released one snook and two redfish to earn the artificial tackle division’s champion trophy.
The fly tackle division’s trophy was awarded to New York City resident John Kukral for five snook, one bonefish and one tarpon. Kukral was guided by Captain Luis “Louie” Cortes of Islamorada.
The tournament’s field of 14 anglers posted overall game fish totals of 39 snook, 17 redfish, 13 tarpon and eight bonefish over two fishing days.
Proceeds from the event benefit the Guides Trust Foundation, an organization committed to assisting Florida Keys fishing guides in need, helping them meet their financial obligations in times of crisis or injury, as well as providing scholarship awards to local students.
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