LOWER FLORIDA KEYS, Florida — Scott Christian of Alpharetta, Georgia, released 246.75 inches of barracuda to win the fly division of the 2018 Cuda Bowl Tournament that ended Feb. 3 in the Lower Florida Keys. Guided by Captain John Benvenuto of Key West, Florida, he earned the title of divisional grand champion.
Christian’s catches included the fly division’s largest individual barracuda, measuring 48.75 inches. Tournament organizers said the fish was the event’s largest ever caught on fly. Christian also took top honors for the most barracuda releases on fly.
John O’Hearn of Big Pine Key, Florida, won the Cuda Bowl’s spin division championship, releasing barracuda totaling 264 inches. Guided by Nathaniel Linville of Key West, he also posted the most barracuda releases on spin.
In addition, O’Hearn and teammate Ted Margo of Fort Worth, Texas, earned the tournament’s prestigious Ben Gravett Team Award.
Matt Gravett of Warrenton, Virginia, caught the largest individual barracuda in the spin division. He released the 50.75-inch fish while guided by Captain Bob Paulson of Sugarloaf Key, Florida.
John Chinuntdet of Mooresville, North Carolina, took the first runner-up title in the fly division, releasing 235.5 inches of barracuda. His guide was Captain Justin Rea of Sugarloaf Key.
First runner-up honors in the spin division went to Jamie Gravett of Broad Run, Virginia. Guided by Captain Pat Bracher of Cudjoe Key, Florida, Gravett released fish totaling 256.75 inches.
The tournament’s top female angler was Marguerite Meyer of Bozeman, Montana, who released barracuda totaling 218.75 inches. She fished with Captain Brandon Cyr of Key West.
Placing behind Meyer and named first runner-up female angler was Heidi Andrews of Vero Beach, Florida, who released barracuda totaling 122.75 inches. She fished with Captain Aaron Snell of Key West.
Twelve-year-old Kai Decker of St. Augustine, Florida, earned the title of top junior angler. Guided by Captain Mike O’Brien of Summerland Key, Florida, the young enthusiast released 71.25 inches of barracuda.
The flats challenge drew 46 boats and 75 registered anglers who released a total of 431 barracuda over two fishing days.