2011 Drambuie Tournament

Sights from the 2011 Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament

August 9, 2011
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The 2011 Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament, held July 20 through July 23 during Key West’s annual Hemingway Days, attracted about 250 anglers who fished on 44 boats off the Florida Keys. Contest headquarters was at the Historic Seaport and the Key West Marina along the waterfront of the Conch Republic Seafood Company. Stephanie Pancratz
While tournament anglers fished offshore, on land more than 120 men resembling Ernest Hemingway competed in the 2011 “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest that is a facet of Key West’s annual Hemingway Days festival. (Photo: Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO) Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO
Ken Turner endeavored to impress judges with a reference to the novel “Old Man and the Sea” during the “Papa” Hemingway Look-Alike Contest at Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida. Offshore, during this day one of fishing in the Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament, Team High Class Hooker was simultaneously battling a blue marlin similar in look (but not in size)! (Photo: Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO) Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO
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While waiting for anglers to return from day two of fishing, I ventured down Greene Street, just a block from tournament headquarters, to Peppers of Key West ( Known for its square-shaped tasting bar that’s perfect for watching people’s eyes tear up as they sample hot sauces, I tried a dozen and ended up with three bottles to go, my favorite being “Goin’ Bananas.” Stephanie Pancratz
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High Class Hooker, returning after day two of fishing at the Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament off the Florida Keys. On the first day of fishing, angler David Claffy battled a blue marlin for four hours before releasing it. That marathon fight put the team in second place after the first day of fishing, where they remained until day three. Stephanie Pancratz
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Anglers weighing in a wahoo on day two of the Drambuie.
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A day-two dolphin weigh-in at the Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament off the Florida Keys.
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Weighing in a hefty wahoo and drinking an ice cold beer — nothing’s finer after a day of tournament fishing.
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Although I know a few people who could imbibe an eight-foot bottle of Drambuie, it was a power surge at Thursday’s weigh in that drained the inflatable bottle at the weigh gantry.
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With power back on, it was back to the weigh-in!
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Marine artist Carey Chen’s mahi mahi that he caught on day two of the tourney didn’t make the minimum 15-pound requirement to score points, but he remained a good sport.
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Mary and Sheli of Reel Darlins ( clearly approve of their dolphin caught aboard Beachcomber on day two of the tournament.
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Reel Darlins (left to right) Cori, Mary, Sheli and Kelly on day two of the Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament off the Florida Keys.
Following Friday’s weigh-in, anglers enjoyed dockside cocktails and a hogfish fry at Conch Republic Seafood Company (
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Team Galati members check out the daily standings at Friday’s dockside cocktails and fish fry.
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Anglers from Dock Cruiser II give the big trophy some love Friday following day two of fishing in hopes of increasing their luck on Saturday, the last day of tournament fishing.
Saturday morning I headed out of Key West Marina on a luxurious CABO 40 Express with Team MarineMax for a day of tournament fishing. Despite seven- to eight-foot seas and the hot Florida sun, I remained cool, comfortable and salt-spray free in the enclosed bridge.
Unfortunately trolling for marlin didn’t work to our advantage, but Capt. Travis Fraley put MarineMax on four hard-fighting dolphin. Here, John Ward of CABO Yachts battles our scale-worthy fish.
MarineMax mate Brandon Fraley boats our first catch of the day.
Only a few moments later, it was a dolphin double hookup for CABO’s Don Smith and John Ward while aboard the MarineMax CABO 40 Express.
Brandon prepares a little guy for release … and a chance at being next year’s Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament winning fish.
While anglers fished off Key West, Ernest Hemingway look-alikes prepared to begin the “Running of the Bulls” outside Sloppy Joe’s on Saturday. The hijinks were a facet of Key West’s annual Hemingway Days. (Photo: Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO) Andy Newman/Florida Keys News Bureau/HO
Meanwhile, on Moppy Dick II, skippered by Richard Haskins, Harry Cameron of Fort Myers Beach, Florida, reeled in a blue marlin estimated to weigh 150 pounds. (Photo: Moppy Dick II_)_ Moppy Dick II
Harry Cameron reeled in his approximately 150-pound marlin Friday, the second day of the three-day contest. (Photo: Moppy Dick II_)_ Moppy Dick II
Here’s Team MarineMax‘s John Ward with his hard-earned dolphin.
Moppy Dick II‘s Dan Richards released the team’s second marlin, estimated to weigh 100 pounds, Saturday. Both fish were caught on this green-and-yellow jethead lure, within a mile of each other and about the same time in the mid-morning. The two fish earned Moppy Dick II team top honors and a $25,000 first-place cash prize.
Anglers readying a wahoo for weigh-in on day three of fishing at the Drambuie Key West marlin Tournament.
This underweight dolphin didn’t make the tournament’s fun fish minimum weight of 15 pounds, but it still earned a happy toast to another night’s dinner.
Team On Course waits in anticipation as tournament staff member Karen Smith validates the video footage of the team’s blue marlin released Saturday by angler Mike Zalewski of Seminole, Florida. The fish earned them second place in the tournament.
Question of day: What hides in the fish bag of a boat named B.F.B.?
Answer: A mahi worthy of renaming the B.F.B. to B.F.F. and claiming third place in the dolphin fun fish category.
Team Julieanne‘s mahi waiting to be weighed.
Now that’s a happy angler.
Dock Cruiser II weighs in a couple of nice dolphin on the last day of fishing. Onlookers imagined that this couple had a lot to say to one another as they were hooked.
The tournament awards banquet dinner and awards ceremony at the Westin Key West Resort and Marina aptly began with a Drambuie toast!
After a taste of the sweet nectar, this party favor certainly won’t last long.
Blue Heaven, with Tampa angler Steve Swindale, released a blue marlin and caught a 16.85-pound wahoo with Capt. Ed Thompson of Tarpon Springs, Florida for third place team.
On Course, captained by Bill Curry of Tampa, took second place with a blue marlin released Saturday by angler Mike Zalewski of Seminole, Florida. That release was combined with an 18.95-pound dolphin caught Thursday by Ryan Harrington of Tierra Verde, Fla., and a 25.9-pound dolphin caught Friday by Bob Dietz of Tampa.
The winner of the 2011 Key West Marlin Tournament $25,000 first-place cash prize with 800 points for two blue marlin was Team Moppy Dick II (CABO 45 Express). The team also received the 2011 CABO Cup Award. Congratulations, anglers! Stephanie Pancratz
The 2012 Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament is scheduled for July 18-21. More details on the tournament at See you next year! Stephanie Pancratz

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