Palm Beach County fishing teams fared well during tournaments based in Martin and Broward counties last weekend by running their boats into Palm Beach County waters to catch the winning fish.
Captain Bill Wummer and his team on Spiced Rum III fished in 120 feet just south of Jupiter Inlet to catch the winning blackfin tuna (27.3 pounds) and the second-place kingfish (47.7 pounds) in the Frances Langford Memorial Fishing Tournament based in Jensen Beach.
Team Tuppen’s captain Steve Sprague won top dolphin in the 32-boat Frances Langford tournament with a 16.5-pound mahi mahi caught in 80 feet of water just north of Jupiter Inlet.
Sprague’s son Chris, 8, caught the winning bull dolphin that hit a live blue runner dangled under a fishing kite. The Tuppen’s team also boated several kingfish ranging from 20 to 33 pounds off Lost Tree Village.
“The bite was hot,” Sprague said.
Farther south, the Palm Beach County team on Doing It All, led by Mark Lamb and Daryl Deka, won top boat in the Pompano Beach Fishing Rodeo with a two-day weight of 260.6 pounds — about 35 pounds more than the second place boat.
Lamb said they ran Deka’s 32-foot Contender into 200 feet of water north of Boca Raton Inlet on the first day of fishing May 17. A hub failed on one of the boat’s propellers, forcing them to stay put. While they waited for a new prop, they put up the kites and boated three blackfin tuna and three kingfish.
“After we changed the prop, we said we’re going to do that drift again,” Lamb said.
Lamb said their first-day total of eight fish — four kingfish and four tuna — was 165 pounds. They topped it off with four kingfish on the second day to win top boat the Rodeo. It was their sixth attempt to win the Pompano Beach tournament.
“After six years, we finally got it done,” Lamb said.
Wine Knot tastes success
John Caldwell of Vero Beach and friends fishing on the Wine Knot caught a 36.6-pound dolphin May 18 to win $5,000 in the Exchange Club of Indian River County’s 37th Annual Blue Water Open Charity Fishing Tournament based at Fort Pierce City Marina.
Caldwell was fishing with captain Carlos Lago on Lago’s 35-foot Donzi. They were trolling along a slick in 170 feet off Vero Beach when someone on the boat spotted a dolphin jumping in the distance. Caldwell said they trolled in the area where the fish had jumped but had no luck.
Then he saw a flash in the water. While trolling around the area where he saw the flash, the big dolphin hit a naked ballyhoo trolled way behind the boat.
“He made a big run like a wahoo,” Caldwell said. “He never jumped until 10 minutes into the fight. Then I knew I had a winner.”
Boaters put on holiday alert
The Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission and other on-the-water law-enforcement agencies are warning boaters to pay special attention to safety during the Memorial Day weekend, traditionally a time of crowded waterways.
The FWC plans to have squads of officers in boats patrolling inland lakes and rivers as well as the Intracoastal Waterway and the ocean waters of Palm Beach County this weekend. They will be checking for speed-zone violations, watching for boating under the influence of alcohol and inspecting boats for the required safety equipment, including an accessible life jacket in good condition and of the correct size for everyone on the boat.
Boaters should watch for red-and-white dive flags marking divers in the water — and for swimmers who aren’t marked by dive flags.
The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office plans to have all 16 members of its marine unit on the water this weekend and will be focusing on the waters around Peanut Island, where dozens of boaters typically anchor on the sand bar north of the island.