KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — Team Sandman, led by Captain John Dudas of Miami, tallied 13 sailfish releases to take top honors at the two-day Billfish Championship, a main event of the Jimmy Johnson Fishing Championship Week that ended Saturday in the Florida Keys.
Dudas’ team earned a total of $395,000 in prize money for the victory, as well as authentic, custom-designed Jimmy Johnson’s NBC Championship rings for each team member.
Dudas fished with fellow Miami anglers Robbie Ramirez, Alex Castelanos and Dommie Adames; Robbie Waddick from Pompano Beach, Florida; Chris Kaulen and Jeffrey Liederman of Key Biscayne, Florida; and boat owner Sandra McMillan from Fort Lauderdale.
Captain Scott Stanczyk of Islamorada, Florida, led his team of Texas-based anglers onboard the Catch 22 to second place on time with 10 releases. Third place went to Captain Marcos Zamudio and his Ocean Reef, Key Largo team on the SeaHawk with 10 fish.
The teams earned $210,00 and $60,000 in prize monies, respectively.
Rally Cap, captained by Hunter DeCamp, took top honors in the Celebrity Pro-Am Championship. Anglers included the one-day event’s top angler Worldwide Wes, a pro sports consultant, and former Toronto Blue Jay Alex Gonzalez.
A $1.5 million total purse for the Jimmy Johnson Fishing Championship Week makes it the world’s richest guaranteed tournament purse, according to organizers. The multiday event attracted 99 boat teams and over 730 anglers who released 318 sailfish.
The philanthropic event raised over $100,000 for charitable recipients that included the Community Initiatives Foundation, a 501(c)(3) dedicated to supporting various fundraising programs throughout South Florida; Quantum House; and Tranquil Shores Children’s Foundation.