12 March 2021
KEY WEST, Fla. — Ivar Bolander of Summerland Key, Florida, caught and released two permit to win the 2021 March Merkin Permit Tournament that ended March 11.
Tournament veteran Bolander released one permit on the event’s second fishing day and one on the third, both coincidentally measuring 28.5 inches to the fork of the tail. Fishing with Captain Steve Friedman of Islamorada, Florida, he scored 228 points to become the tournament’s grand champion angler. Friedman was named guide to the grand champion.
The first runner-up angler was Robert Dougherty of Dallas, Texas. Guided by Captain Nick LaBadie of Key West, Florida, Dougherty released two permit with a combined point total of 164.
Sam Kaufman of Marathon, Florida, was named second runner-up angler for releasing one permit worth 116 points. Guided by Captain Aaron Snell of Key West, Kaufman also earned honors for scoring the tournament’s largest single catch at 29 inches. 
Twenty-four teams of permit enthusiasts fished the tournament. Proceeds benefit the Lower Keys Guides Association and the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust, which helps conserve and restore bonefish, tarpon and permit fisheries and habitats in the Western Hemisphere.

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