Islamorada, Florida-The International Women’s Fishing Association held its annual Florida Keys tournament except this year it was different than years past. The tournament had always been a light tackle tournament using 6 and 8 pound monofilament line. After years of discussions and line testing, the club’s Board of Directors voted to change the rules and format of the tournament and anglers were able to use 10 pound braided line and fish for more species of fish than before. The much anticipated event brought in 22 ladies from all over the country including Texas, North Carolina and Florida.
Hurricane Irma almost cancelled this tournament, however, the anglers that had already registered for it along with the Board of Directors did not want that to happen. They wanted to see their friends, go fishing and bring business to the Florida Keys fishing guides. Despite the effects the hurricane had on the Keys, the community is resilient. Clean up efforts continue throughout the Keys but businesses are open, many hotels ready to book rooms and most of all fishing guides ready to work!
The ladies fished hard all 3 days of the tournament, fishing and weather conditions were less than favorable but the guides did everything they could to put the ladies on the fish to rack up points. The High Point Angler on Day 1, Judy Axelrod of Sarasota, FL who fished with Capt. Richard Black, had a great day scoring over 1200 points and able to remain in the lead throughout the 3 days of the tourney.
This was Judy’s first win in this tournament after years of fishing it and taking a brief hiatus to return to fish and win it this year. Connie O’day from Pearland, TX who won the last 2 consecutive years came in 2nd place and Becca deRosa from Placida, FL came in 3rd and was also the High Point Angler on Day 3 of the tourney. High Point Angler on Day 2 was Islamorada local, Rebecca Strain with 810 points.