Islamorada, Florida Keys – Jan 19, 2015, For the third time in 25 years, Capt. Paul Ross led the “Relentless” team to victory at the 25th Annual Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament, January 15-17, 2015. Anglers Fenton Langston, Key Largo, FL., Jimmy and Debbie David, Ft. Lauderdale, FL and Jim Hendrix of Tavernier, released a total of 12 sailfish over two days of fishing. “Yesterday was one of the best days we ever had during tournament fishing,” Ross said. His team released 11 fish on the first day, including a triple header and then four sailfish all at once. “We saw eight fish behind the boat and caught four of them. It doesn’t get much better than that.”
Ross also won the Outstanding Captain Award and his son, Paul Ross, Jr. and Jim Hendrix took home the Outstanding Mate trophy. “The Cheeca Presidential is one of the most prestigious tournaments,” said Capt. Ross. “Everyone wants to win this one. You have to stay calm and go slow to get the job done.”
Angler Debbie David caught six of the Relentless’ 12 releases, taking home the Grand Champion Angler award and the first ever Top Lady Angler award given in honor of Jay Anna Cohan, who was killed with her husband Kenny in an automobile accident earlier this year, rocking the entire Islamorada sport fishing community. Cohan was the voice of the Cheeca Presidential since its inception. The room went completely quiet as Capt. Craig Murphy took the mike to present the memorial trophy. “This week has been one of very mixed emotions for each of us. Tonight we share Jay Anna’s legacy, her beautiful love for her husband Ken, her devotion to all her friends and the world of sport fishing. She was a grand champion in all our lives,” Murphy said.
Team “Catch 22,” captained by Scott Stanzyck, won Second Place honors, releasing eight sailfish. Anglers were Kevin Clark and Sam Worden from Traverse City, Michigan, Mike Slocum from Philadelphia, PA and Hunter Barron from Islamorada. “We had great competition, we fished hard and we had a respectable finish,” Stanzyck said.
Third Place trophies went to the “Conetagious” with Capt. Brian Cone and anglers Dr. Travis Bennett, Dan Naumoff and Scott Naz, all from the Upper Keys. Mates were Naumoff and Shannon Atallas. The team caught five sailfish.
Sixty-five anglers fishing on 19 boats released 64 sailfish, with nine of them tagged for research. Most Tagged Fish honors went to “Challenger” Angler Brian Devries of Grand Rapids, MI., with Capt. Rob Dixon and Mates Chris Jones, Jesse LeBoeuf and Dan Flynn. The team tagged three fish.