14 June 2022
BIG PINE KEY, Florida Keys — Team Lower Keys Tackle scored a 24.45-pound dolphin fish to take first place and a $7,500 cash prize in the 29th annual Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce Dolphin Tournament that ended June 12.
Al Burns of Big Pine Key, who skippered the boat, caught the fish that earned the team its victory on the tournament’s first fishing day. The team also consisted of Lance Stedman of Summerland Key, Florida; Bill Dewald of Cudjoe Key, Florida; and Big Pine Key anglers Mark McClew, Tripp Avera and Donna Hart.
“The wind conditions were perfect and it was nice and calm, and we had a good time,” said Hart, who added that the relatively hot water temperatures made fishing somewhat challenging.
The team was seeking deep water off the east end of Big Pine Key, she said, when Burns hooked the winning fish.
Second place went to the Miami-based team aboard Halftime, under the direction of Captain Spencer Deno. Team member Chris Deno, the captain’s son, caught a 24.30-pound dolphin to secure the second spot.
The Halftime team also earned top honors in the youth division for fish caught by grandsons of the captain. Justin Toro, 13, caught a 21.45-pound dolphin to take first place in the division, while seven-year-old Shane Deno earned second place for a dolphin weighing 15.8 pounds.
Additional members of the family-focused Halftime team were Spencer Deno’s son Carl Deno and grandson Spencer Deno V.
Third place in the adult division went to team Raging Inferno for a dolphin weighing 21.25 pounds. The fish was caught by Wes Krieger of Summerland Key.  
According to event organizers, the tournament drew about 120 anglers fishing on 30 boats. Tournament proceeds benefit the Lower Keys Chamber of Commerce and its programs.

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