Every July in Key West, FL, three days are set aside on both of our boats for the annual Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament. This tournament is usually a dead ringer for the third week of the month. Falling on the same week as Hemingway Days, downtown Key West is bustling during these seven days. This event is held at the Conch Republic Seafood Company, two blocks from famous Duval Street. The tournament can bring close to 100 boat entries and as many as 400 anglers. Recent years have been less than half of that, as economic adversity has given many tournaments a low number of participants. Still there are usually a steady group of fishermen and women who are consistently entered every year. The Mr.Z and the Outer Limits have both been participating in the KWMT for many years, having both been in the money on many occasions.
This Year Was No Exception
The tournament was met this year on the Mr.Z by Captain Curly McGinn and mate Steve Liberatore. With eager optimism, they entered into the event as a Drambuie sponsored boat. This sponsorship is set up by Bacardi, who distributes Drambuie. The Mr. Z has been a Bacardi sponsored boat for many years. Having already released two Blue Marlin in the two days prior to the tourney, the crew was dialed in.
The first two days of the tournament were very slow for the majority of the boats. One Marlin on the first day, and one on the second day left day three as still anybody’s game. Mid day on day three the Mr.Z hit pay-dirt. With a pounding strike a Blue Marlin grabbed the Aloha Lures “Mongo” from the rigger and screamed drag. Troy Anderson was first on the rod and in the fighting chair. As the fight ensues the fish goes down and dirty on Troy. With great technique he slowly gains a few feet at a time. Now with the Marlin, boat side mate Steve put the finishing touches on the leader and released the fish.
With only a few hours left in the tourney, the difference between first and fourth places was an amazing 17 points. A 20 pound Mahi, or Wahoo, or a Sailfish would have given them a first place trophy, but it wasn’t meant to be. As a matter of fact, two more marlin were released on the final day, but due to time of release the Mr. Z was able to hold on to 3rd. As a sponsored boat, the winnings of the tournament are split and 50% goes to a charity that the KWMT committee votes on in the fall.
A great job done by a great crew! As always the next Marlin is just up over that wave!