Mavericks finish 1-2-3 at Fall All Tackle
Mavericks finish 1-2-3 at Fall All Tackle
By: Capt. Mark Krowka
The 48th Annual Islamorada All Tackle Bonefish and Permit Championship was recently fished from October 7-10 out of the Lorelei and the Islamorada Fishing Club, as horrible hurricane Michael churned northward in the Gulf only a few hundred miles to the West. The nearly weather canceled tournament went on, despite intermittent showery squall lines and 25-30 mph blustery winds. Riding on the strength of the continued improvement of the bonefishing in the Keys, the seemingly adverse conditions did nothing to even dent the productivity of the excellent field of anglers and guides.
For the third time in five years, Apache helicopter pilot/instructor, Rich Barnett from Davie, once again prevailed and dominated to win the title of Grand Champion. He totaled 24 bonefish and 2 permit for 4,644 points in the three day contest.
On Day One, Barnett was able to dig out 4 rainy day bonefish in the 3-5 pound range while using live shrimp and the tournament required 10 pound line. He spooled up with 10 pound Sufix Superior Mono. On Day Two, Rich worked the far south and west circuit of Key West (the Fall All-Tackle, as well as the three other major bonefish tournaments, the Spring Shoot Out and both the Fall & Spring Fly, now allow trailering) and exploded for 16 more bonefish releases!!! Permit were desperately needed on the final day, and from just a small number of opportunities between scattered cloud cover, Barnett was able to accurately gun down a valuable pair, weighing approximately 15 & 17 pounds. He also added on 4 more bonefish releases, enough to secure the victory.
Runner-Up Angler, Andy Yaffa from Weston amassed 3,457 points while poled by Homestead’s Capt. Eric Herstedt. This team caught 9 bones and 2 permit working hard in several zip codes of Biscayne Bay. Yaffa casted live shrimp on 10 pound Spider Wire Invisibraid to pick off 3 high scoring bonefish on Day One in northern portions of the Bay. On Day Two, Herstedt returned to the now even muddier North Bay area for 3 more bones of similar size. He produced 3 permit sight shots, and Andy connected with and landed an 18 pounder that crunched a live crab, certainly a great catch in terrible conditions. Day Three dawned slightly better and began in South Bay with 3 bonefish releases, 2 on shrimp and one on a jig. Then with only a small amount of sunlight peeking through, Yaffa once again took advantage of just a single shot near Ocean Reef and nailed a slightly larger 20 pound class permit, also taken on crab.
Andy Yaffa, a Maverick 18 HPX owner and past winner of the Keymorada Crohns & Colitis Tournament, also took home the awards for high scoring Largest Bonefish and Largest Permit. Size really does matter to this duo, the Yaffa/Herstedt team won the All-Tackle’s Largest Bonefish Award last year. The 2017 Champions, Frank Delucas from Plantation and Jarod Raskob took Third Place with 13 bones and a permit for 3,028 points in a Maverick 17. The Artificial Division Winners were Rob Preihs of Islamorada with Capt. Richard Black, also in a Maverick 17. This formidable pair won the All-Tackle in 2015. Fly Division Winners were last years’ Runner-Up Team of Roger Fernandez of Pinecrest and Capt. Steve Tejera, once again in a Maverick 17.
The nearly 50 year old All Tackle, one of the most famous light tackle flats tournaments in the state, was originally a bonefish only event until 2013, when permit were added. The extensive list of past Grand Champion anglers and guides is itself nearly a historic record of shallow water sightfishing in the Keys. Identifiable casters like Jack Kertz (the 2nd owner of Bud & Mary’s Marina), Crawford Adams, Kenny McKenny (owner of Theater By The Sea), Joe “Pepe” Lopez (who set the all-time scoring record) and famed journalist Carl Hiaasen, just to name a handful. And a few feet behind them, some of the greatest guides ever in our sport, captains George Hommel, Cecil Keith, Eddie Wightman, Bob Reineman, Steve Huff, Billy Knowles and Tim Klein.
The recently adjusted format currently allows for scoring by points of the three biggest bonefish and three biggest permit, at 24 points per inch on bait, 30 points per inch on artificials, and 36 points per inch on fly. Upgrades for these “weight fish” are permitted at any time. Also currently, release values for bonefish on bait are 100 points, artificial 125, fly 150. Permit releases on bait are 100, artificial 150, and fly 200. Release points cannot exceed weight points. Should that occur, these release points are “banked” until validated by a new weight fish, or an upgrade.
The upcoming 2019, 49th Annual three day Islamorada All-Tackle Bonefish and Permit Championship will be held October 13-16. Check for details on the website at http;//www.fallalltackle.com. An additional email contact is tournament director Kellie Trotta at Kelliet62@gmail.com. You can also follow on Facebook at Islamorada All-Tackle Bonefish and Permit Championship.