2013 Gold Cup Invitational Tarpon Fly Tournament

The 50th anniversary of the longest continuously running Tarpon Fly Fishing Tournament yielded extreme competition this past week in Islamorada, FL. For five straight Days 25 seasoned anglers fought to earn the most accumulated points.

Rand Holstead and Capt. Brian Helms

Angler Rand Holstead from Houston, TX. and Captain Brian Helms of Islamorada pulled through with 3 weight fish and 9 release fish scoring 4504 points to become the 2013 Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament Grand Champions. The winning combination of Holstead and Helms coming fresh off their Hawley Tournament win proved once again that they are team that is hard to beat. Tarpon are caught, measured, and released throughout the five‐day Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament. Weight of the tarpon is calculated through a formula based on length and girth with a 70 pound minimum required to qualify as a weight fish. Release fish count if they are four feet or longer.

First Runner‐Up Angler Charles Duncan III from Houston, TX and Captain Rob Fordyce caught 3 weight fish and 6 release fish totaling 4266 points. One of those weight fish was the Largest Tarpon caught for the week, weighing in at 121.4 pounds. Second Runner-­Up Angler Julian Robertson from New York, NY. and Captain Joe Rodriguez scored a total of 4259 points from 3 weight fish and 6 release fish. Angler Michael Criscola from Fair Haven, NJ. fishing with Captain Paul Tejera caught 12 releases to win the Most Releases Category. Trophies included sculptures by Roger Fowler (www.fowlersculpture.com) and original artwork by Jorge Martinez.

The biggest privilege of being Grand Champion is having your name added to the Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament’s perpetual trophy which is showcased at World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada, FL. Rand Holstead and Captain Brian Helms will have theirs added for the first time. The 50th anniversary was an extra special week for the Grand Champions since the awards banquet was also a tribute to the history of the Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament. The exclusive banquet took place at Morada Bay Beach Café where a video presentation by Waterline Media portrayed the evolution and significance of the tournament over the past 50 years.

Past anglers such as Boyd Walker were interviewed and showcased in the video while guest speakers, past Champions Glen Flutie and Capt. Steve Huff spoke to the audience about the importance of keeping the tournament alive. The 51st annual Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament will take place on June 16-­‐20, 2014.


Mako Fishing Funaments

YOU’RE INVITED!  Join fellow MAKO owners for a casual, relaxed weekend of friendly fishing competition, activities, dockside cookouts, and more.  Mark your calendars ― Sept. 19-22 in Islamorada, FL, and Oct. 10-13 in Fort Myers, FL.  Visit www.mako-boats.com/fishingfunaments for event and registration details.  It’s going to be a great time!

Mako Fishing Funaments


Snook Season to Re-Open this Fall

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reviewed and discussed the snook populations on the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts and decided to allow recreational harvest to re-open this September. The Gulf of Mexico snook fishery had been closed for snook harvest since early 2010 after a record setting cold snap took it's toll on the population, particularly juvenile snook on the Gulf side. Gulf recreational harvest re-opens Sept. 1, one-fish-per-person, per-day bag limit, the 28- to 33-inch total length slot limit and the two annual closures in Gulf waters, which are from Dec. 1 through the end of February and May 1 through Aug. 31..Everglades Snook

Anglers are urged to treat these truly special fish with respect and immediately return any fish that are not going to be harvested.


39th Annual Don Hawley Invitational Tarpon Fly Tournament

Greetings from Worldwide Sportaman in Islamorada, Florida. The second event of the "triple crown" of tarpon flyfishing tournaments was completed last week.The 39th Don Hawley Invitational Tarpon Fly Tournament kicked off with a rules meeting and dinner at Ziggie and Maddog’s on Sunday, June 2nd. The tournament had 22 entries vying for the title of Grand Champion in releasing the most tarpon over 4 feet on fly using either 12 pound tippet or 16 pound tippet. During the 5 day tournament, the teams released a total 82 tarpon despite bad weather and in virtually no light conditions.

The first day of the tournament in the 12 pound tippet division, angler Carlos Duncan from Houston, Texas and Captain Rob Fordyce, the defending Grand Champion team from last year, came roaring in with 7 releases, followed by Greg Smith, another Texan from Laguna Vista and Captain Scott Collins with 4 releases. Angler Kevin Lyden of Charleston, S.C. with Captain Greg Poland took a commanding lead in the 16 pound tippet division with 5 fish released. Day 2 produced another round for the Texas boys with Rand Holstead of Houston, Texas and Captain Brian Helms turning in a score of 5 released fish. Ned Johnson from Charleston, S.C.  and Captain Andy Thompson were next, releasing 4 fish and Steve Ward of Coppell, Texas and Captain Paul Tejera with 3 releases as well as 3 fish for the Smith and Collins team. Days 3,4 and 5 saw a big reduction in the number of fish scored for all anglers and guides. The teams of Duncan/Fordyce, Holstead/Helms, Smith/Collins and Johnson/Thompson volleyed back and forth over the last 3 days trading places up until the last day.
Rand Holstead left, Capt. Brian Helms right
Texan Rand Holstead and Captain Brian Helms battled it out on day 5 to take the Grand Champion title by one fish! The team played hard and won with a total of 13 releases on 12 pound tippet. Carlos Duncan and Captain Rob Fordyce were named Champions of the 12 pound tippet division with 12 releases. 1St Runner Up went to Greg Smith and Captain Scott Collins for 11 releases, 2nd Runner Up team was Ned Johnson and Captain Andy Thompson with 8 fish scored. In the 16 pound division, Kevin Lyden and Captain Greg Poland stayed solid and won this division with 8 releases. Angler Keith Robbins of Seattle, Washington and Captain Jared Raskob claimed 1st Runner Up followed by Sam Kaufman from Evergreen, CO. and Captain Steve Friedman taking 2nd Runner Up. John Wilson from Tampa, Florida fished with Captain Camp Walker and took the Best New Angler Trophy. Best Other Fish went to Ned Johnson and Captain Andy Thompson for a permit on fly on day one.

The Don Hawley Invitational Tarpon Fly Tournament began in 1974 as a way to raise funds for the Guide’s Trust Foundation, a foundation created to help support the Florida Keys guides in times of hardship and disability. It’s mission has remained the same for 39 years, to help the Florida Keys guides in need.

Next year’s tournament dates are June 1-6, 2014. For more info, please contact Betsy Bullard at fishnfever@bellsouth.net.


The 19th Annual Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament

Islamorada, Florida Keys

The 19th Outback Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament kicked off Sunday, May 19th at the Islamorada Fishing Club. Outgoing Tournament Chairman, Pat Ford of Miami, and incoming Tournament Chairman Dr. Steve Ward of Coppell, Texas, welcomed a 20 boat field by first presenting a $3,000.00 donation to IFACT Chairman, Kara Lundgren.  The Islamorada Fishing and Conservation Trust supports local fishing and marine conservation projects as well as providing scholarships to those going into the marine resources education programs.

Ward, Lundgren, Ford

The weather actually was very good through out all three days of fishing. The Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament is a large fish tournament, meaning that the bigger fish of 70 pounds and over will score more points. The smaller release fish of four feet and over all score 200 points but do not count unless a weight fish is scored.

Angler Julian Robertson from Kerikeri, New Zealand and local Captain Joe Rodriguez ran away with day one. They scored two weight fish and two releases for 2,300 points. High points on day two also went to Robertson and Rodriguez with another weight fish as well as two more releases for a total of 3,740 points. Day three high points went to newcomer Ryan Seiders from Texas and Captain Rob Fordyce with a weight fish and a release for 1,240 points.  

Julian Robertson and Captain Joe Rodriguez took over the entire tournament winning the Grand Champion title with a final scoring of three weight fish and seven releases for 4,340 points. The team walked away with David Wirth sculptures, a custom fly reel by Tom Kapusta and a custom fly rod from Randy Towe Signature Series Fly Rods. The team also claimed the Billy Pate Memorial Largest Tarpon Award with a 108 pound tarpon. Captain Rodriguez guided Robertson to High Point Trophies on day one and day two as well as the Most Releases trophy with seven fish released.


Capt. Joe Rodriguez, Left  Julian Robertson, Right

First Runner Up Trophy went to Ryan Seiders and Captain Rob Fordyce with two weight fish and three releases for a total of 2,660 points. Seiders and Fordyce grabbed the High Point Trophy for day three as well as the Newcomer Award. Second Runner Up went to angler Rand Holstead of Houston, Texas and Captain Brian Helms with one weight fish and four releases for a total of 1,800 points. Third Runner Up was Ned Johnson from Charleston, S.C. and Captain Andy Thompson with one weight fish and two releases for 1,145 points.

The 20th Golden Fly Tarpon Tournament will be held May 18-21, 2014. For information please email Betsy Bullard at fishnfever@bellsouth.net.




Giant Tarpon Caught in the Florida Keys!

Greetings form Worldwide Sportsman in Islamorada, Florida! Big tarpon are here and fishing has been very good and getting better.  Atlantic, bayside and channel anglers have seen lots of fish and with water temperatures rising, the number of catches has increased. This tarpon was caught by Josh Jackson, fishing with Ben Ekblom of Ekblom Fishing Charters.

264 Pound Tarpon

Tarpon in Florida must be released unless you possess a "kill tag". Estimates of their weights can be made by measuring the length and girth of the fish; length times the girth squared, then divide by 800. This formula has proved to be very accurate. This fish was released after measuring the length at 88 inches and the girth at 44 inches. Do the math and this fish weighs 264.11 pounds! WOW. Congratulations, Josh!

Fly anglers have been getting hooked up on the flats with a variety of flies. Primarily purple and black patterns early and late in the day and yellows, tans and chartreuse during the middle of the day. The palolo worm "hatch" is upon us. The full moon will provide prepared fly fishers with a bonanza of tarpon activity around certain channels for the next few days. Next months new moon should be a good time to catch the "hatch" as well. The hatch or more appropriately, "mating swarm" event is a dusk and after dark affair but a lot of anglers are throwing worm patterns during the day as well. Come on down and enjoy some of the best fishing of the entire year!


17th Annual Jim Bokor Islamorada All Tackle Bonefish and Redfish Shootout

17th Annual Jim Bokor Islamorada All Tackle Bonefish and Redfish Shoot Out

Islamorada, Florida Keys, March 12-15
   The 17th Annual Jim Bokor Islamorada All Tackle Bonefish and Redfish Shoot Out kicked off on March 12th at the Islamorada Fishing Club. With nine boats entered and anglers from as far away as Wisconsin, Texas and New York, all were excited to add redfish to this long running bonefish tournament. In the new rules, a “slam” consisting of a redfish and  bonefish combo would be the ticket to winning either Grand Champion or Runner Up Grand Champion. All other points would determine the winner if there was a tie.
   Wednesday started the tournament with clouds and wind as the boats took off from the Lorelei.  Two bonefish and eight reds made the board on day one. Thursday,  with colder temperatures, posted more fish with two bones and thirtynine redfish scored. Friday gave even a colder start to the day and high wind but the tournament was still open for anyone to win.  The tournament ended with 93 redfish scored along with only 6 bonefish.  Local angler Rob Preihs and Captain Brian Gwilliam took the Largest Redfish Award with a 28.3 inch fish as well as the Most Released Redfish  Trophy for 20 reds released.

Captain Chuck Schaftstall, middle, Jim Bokor, Sr. and left, Jeff Parrish.


The Largest Bonefish Award went to angler Jeff Parrish of Buffalo, New York , fishing with Captain Chuck Schaftstall,. Their bonefish measured in at 26.7 inches. Jim Bokor, Jr. , from Williamsville, New York, and Captain Jared Raskob took the honors for Most Bonefish Released with 2 bones on time. Bokor, Jr. and Captain Raskob also captured the Bait Bonefish Division Award. Dennis Fikes of Kingwood, Texas, and Captain Dave Borras, won the Artificial Redfish Division.
   The Runner Up Grand Champion Award went to the team of Jim Bokor, Jr. and Captain Jared Raskob with 2 Slams for 500 points and 375 points in other categories. The Grand Champion honors went to angler Jeff Parrish and Captain Chuck Schaftstall. The winning duo compiled 2 Slams for 500 points and took the champion title with 400 points.

For information on next year’s tournament, please contact Betsy Bullard at fishnfever@bellsouth.net


Peacock Bass Without a Passport

Greetings from Worldwide Sportsman in Islamorada, Florida! We have been having some fun in the Everglades lately. We get spoiled by all the trophy saltwater fish but occasionally, we like to get back to our freshwater "roots". Fishing the South Florida canal system can provide a fun diversion. We have an interesting array of species avialable including Largemouth Bass, Peacock Bass, Snakeheads and several types of Tilapia and Cichlids. The Peacock Bass were stocked intentionally to control the population of invasive Spotted Tilapia. In addition to successfully controling the Tilapia, the Peacock Bass did not adversly effect the Largemouth Bass and provided a wonderful opportunity to catch these beautiful and hard fighting fish without a having to travel to South America.

Peacock BassPeacock Bass 2









As you can see, this little guy ate a size 6 Clouser Minnow made with Supreme Hair. They may not be the 20 + pound monsters that destroy heavy tackle in the Amazon, but they are big fun on light fly tackle. I had been enjoying catching these 1 to 3 pound fish on a 6 weight fly rod when I noticed a 40 pound class tarpon come rolling up to the suface for a gulp of air. I have also seen some big snook in these canals as well. I decided to take along a 9 weight instead of the 8 as a second rod. Andrew's Peacock Bass

Peacock Bass will take topwater baits and flies but sub surface offerings have worked more consistantly for us. There are also a lot of Largemouth Bass in these canals as well. If you decide to throw plastic worms, you will do well with the bucket mouths but not as well with the Peacocks. You will need some insect repellant, as dusk is a great time to fish but you will receive hundreds more bites from bugs than from fish if you do not protect yourself! You should also be advised to watch where you step while fishing the banks on foot. The Everglades are famous for thier reptiles and they don't like being stepped on. You will likely have crocodiles watch you fish but they have yet to threaten us, they're just curious onlookers that add interest while fishing.


Islamorada Flats Fishing, January 2013

Greetings from Worldwide Sportsman in Islamorada, Florida. This winter has been very mild but occasionally windy. While the rest of the US is getting snow, we're getting hooked up to a menagerie of fish. Redfish continue to dominate the list as the most caught spieces but baby tarpon, big snook, gator sea trout and bonefish have been doing well too. A few permit have been spotted on the flats, particularly in the lower Keys. We will see more permit on the flats closer to the spring. This time of the year we have migrating piscene visitors too. Spanish mackeral, bluefish, wahoo, kingfish, big Jack crevalle, big cobia and our favorite, sailfish are bending rods throughout the Florida Keys.

Last week we found the redfish rather skittish and tough to feed but we're sure they'll be back in the mood soon. Captian Todd Monson of Out of the Blue Charters, based at Worldwide Sportsman's Marina,  found some willing reds recently.


Capt. Todd Monson Redfish         Capt. todd Monson Redfish on FlyThe Pole/Troll Zone around Snake Bight in Everglades National Park has reduced noisy boat traffic and improved the sight fishing opportunities and Todd's clients have been reaping the benefits.













BIg spotted sea trout have been caught in Florida Bay as well. Crusing the flats, "lakes" and "mullet muds", they have been eating plugs, soft plastics, bait and flies.

Capt. Todd Monson TroutTarpon averaging 50 pounds are being caught in the channels and some canals.  Babies averaging about 7 pounds are cruising bayside coves and mangroves. There are some big tarpon in the Everglades but they have been tough lately like the redfish. Longer days and changing barometers should put them back in the mood. Seriously consider giving yourself a break from dancing with the snowblower and come on down to enjoy the warm weather and watersports wonderland that makes the Florida Keys world famous. We thank you for your interest and look forward to meeting and outfitting you here at Worldwide Sportsman in the Sportfishing Capital of the World, Islamorada, Florida!















Fish Fryer Promotion at Worldwide Sportsman

Greetings From Worldwide Sportsman in Islamorada, Florida. We have been enjoying beautiful weather while most of the country has been cold and snowy.

this weekend we decided to promote our fish fryer kit sale outdoors. Sales associate Dan Ferguson volunteered to host our demonstration featuring the

Bass Pro Shops Propane Cooker with Aluminum Pot. It features a 58,000 BTU cast iron burner, 10.5 quart aluminum pot, strainer basket, 18" tall base and 5" thermometer.

This kit retails for $49.99 but is on sale for just $39.97. Cajun Injector's Turkey Gold 3 gallon cottonseed oil is also on sale for $24.97, regularly $36.99.

Fish Fryer Demonstration

Dan treated our guests to Uncle Buck's Hushpuppies and fresh Dolphin with panko or Uncle Buck's Hot and Spicy Fish Batter Mix.

They also got to sample Uncle Buck's Flaming Bass Habanero Sauce for an extra kick. Fortunately, there are frozen margaritas available at the Islamorada Fish Company,

only 40 feet away, to soothe the hot sauce burn. You just can't beat freshly fried Dolphin and hushpuppies at the shoreline of Florida Bay an a beautiful Saturday afternoon!

We're excited to see what's on the menu for next weekend.



Offshore Fishing In Islamorada November 2012

Greetings from Worldwide Sportsman in Islamorada, Florida! We ahve been getting a steady dose of North winds ever since the outer bands of Hurricane Sandy grazed us. Temperatures have dropped earlier than normal and with the North winds, that means SAILFISH! These beautiful fish are one of the most sought after species in Florida waters. Once hooked, sailfish provide hard pulling, long runs with the most spectacular air shows in all of sport fishing. They can be caught by pitching live bait while sight fishing, trolling or kite fishing. They can also be caught on flies!Andrew's First Sailfish

Andrew, pictured on the right, is our newest Group Sales Manager here at Worldwide Sportsman. He caught this sailfish with Captain James Chappell of Catchalottafish Charters, based here at our marina. Since this sailfish was Andrew's first, James had the distinct pleasure introducing Andrew to the tradition of being thrown overboard after landing it.

Captain Marc Toledo of All Lit Up Charters is pictured below with a big Atlantic sailfish caught on a cool day recently. It is a rare occasion to get a picture of Marc wearing long pants! Sailfish in the Florida Keys like cool blustery weather, so be prepared for sloppy conditions to take advantage of fired up sails and you will not regret going out.

Capt. Marc Toledo, All Lit Up!

With the plentiful wind and bait, kite fishing has been the answer for consistent sailfish action. Pilchards and Goggle Eye have been the baits of choice.

Reef fishing has also been good. Snappers, groupers and Kingfish have been caught in good numbers. This Mangrove snapper showed up in Capt. Paul minning's chum line and ate a live pilchard. The Yellowtail Snappers have been eating well and filling coolers as well.

Mangrove Snapper 11/12Yellowtail Snapper 11/12














Calmer, warmer days are forecast for the next week or so. Come on down to the Florida Keys and enjoy some of the best fishing of the year. The holidays should provide great fishing on the reef and beyond for big smiles, full coolers and life-long memories. We have the tackle, bait and charter services you need here at Worldwide Sportsman in Islamorada, the "Sportfishing Capital of the World".


2012 Islamorada All-Tackle Bonefish Tournament World Championship


Islamorada, Florida Keys

Eight teams of the world’s best bonefish anglers and guides took off from the Lorelei Monday.  The tournament ran Monday through Wednesday as teams to competed against each other in one of the toughest and longest running bonefish tournaments in the Florida Keys. Reports of good bonefishing proved to be true. Even with a limited field, the teams released 33 bonefish and measured and released 10 weight fish, bonefish over 8 pounds.  The Islamorada Fishing Club hosted the afternoon events and the Awards. The Largest Bonefish Award went to Troy Pruitt, of Naples, Florida and Captain Brian Helms, measuring a 27.5 inch fish. The Most Releases Award went to the team of Gary Parsons, from Naples, Florida and Captain Chris Jones with 10 fish released. The Runner Up Grand Champion Award went to Kevin Johnson, also from Naples, Florida, and Captain Paul Tejera, with 3 weight fish and 2 releases for a score of 2,400 points. The Grand Champion Award was presented to Gary Parsons fishing with Captain Chris Jones. The team won with 2 weight fish and 10 releases for a score of 2,700 points.  Parsons and Jones each received an original piece of art from local artist and captain, Adam DeBruin. Next year’s tournament dates will be October 14-16, 2013. For more information, please contact Betsy Bullard, fishnfever@bellsouth.net.

Angler Gary Parsons, left Captain Chris Jones, right


Fall Offshore Fishing in Islamorada

Greetings from World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada, Florida. We have had beautiful weather with just a few wet weather systems that have provided very good fishing conditions. The returning bait fish migrations are bringing dolphin, wahoo and tuna to the Gulfstream waters of  the Florida Keys.Early Fall Islamorada Dolphin

The dolphin fishing in particular has a lot of captains claiming to have had better catches than at any point during the summer. Trolling and "running and gunning" have both been effective techniques but finding floating debris has the advantage. Dr. Jay Stein, Paul Minning Sr. and Captain. Paul Minning were aboard the Phoenix 10 when they found a floating tree that held over 100 dolphin that were very eager to bite. Quite a few "slammer" size dolphin have been reported as well. These hard fighting, high jumping and delicious bill fish without bills will continue to migrate through Florida Keys waters for the next few weeks.

Sailfish are starting to show up though not in strong numbers. They will be prowling the Gulfstream waters of the Keys in stronger numbers with the cool , North wind weather fronts typical in the fall. October can be an exciting time to catch sailfish, sometimes in very shallow water.

Tuna and wahoo have also been caught recently. Tuna have been targeted using live pilchards and trolling with small black and red feather lures. Captain Marc Toledo of All Lit Up Charters based at World Wide Sportsman had a great day recently.

Early Fall Islamorada Offshore

A full fish box featuring dolphin, blackfin tuna and wahoo left Marc's customers with sore arms and big grins. Fall is a great time to travel to Islamorada. Off-season rates on airfare, rooms and car rentals along with less fishing pressure and crowds makes Islamorada a great fall getaway if you don't like sitting in a duck blind. Tuning up the snow blower and raking the leaves can wait. Come on down and enjoy some warm weather and great fishing before you have to scrape your windshield. We have all the equipment, clothing, bait and charter services you need to make some life-long memories here in the Sportfishing Capital of the World, Islamorada, Florida.







37th Annual Islamorada Invitational Fall Fly Bonefish Tournament

The 37th Islamorada Invitational Fall Fly Bonefish Tournament kicked off on September 11 at the Islamorada Fishing Club with a rules meeting and dinner. All boats departed from the Lorelei on Wednesday the 12th with rain and clouds hanging on most of the day. Despite the weather, Mark Richens, of Islamorada and London, England, took Day 1 High Point Angler fishing with Captain Mark Krowka. The team had two releases and took the award on time.

    Thursday brought thunderstorms and more rain but did not deter the enthusiasm of these hard core fly anglers and guides. Ned Johnson from Charleston, S.C. fishing with Captain Ted Christie, brought in the tournament’s first weight fish at 11 pounds 14 ounces.

Ned Johnson and Capt. Ted Christie

Later in the day, Rand Holstead of Houston, Texas fishing with Captain Brian Helms weighed in with an 8 pound 4 ounce bone. The Johnson and Christie team took the High Point Angler Day 2 trophy with points totaling 1455.

    The teams took off on Friday morning for the final day of fishing with better weather and hopes for improved fishing. Angler Mike Neal of Aventura, Florida, pegged the day’s only weight fish, 8 pounds 1 ounce, with guide Jared Raskob to take High Point Angler Day 3.
   The Best Other Fish trophy went to Rand Holstead and Captain Brian Helms with a nice 15 pound permit on fly. The Most Bonefish Releases Award went to Ned Johnson and Captain Ted Christie with 7 fish as well as the coveted Charles F. Helmly Largest Bonefish Award. Holstead and Helms were the Runner Up Team with one weight fish and 5 releases for 1,096 points .

2012 Champions Ned Johnson and Capt. Ted Christie

Angler Johnson and Captain Christie took the honors of Grand Champions of the 2012 Islamorada Invitational Fall Fly Bonefish Tournament with one weight fish and 7 releases for a total of  2,110 points. They each received an original Jorge Martinez painting.

This is the first win for both Ned Johnson and Captain Ted Christie in this prestigious bonefish tournament- congratulations!


Rare Sawfish Caught in Florida Bay!

Greetings from World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada, Florida. Sawfish are a rare and endangered species here in Florida but one was caught recently on rod and reel tackle.

Florida Bay Smalltooth Sawfish

Sawfish look rather like sharks but are more closely related to rays. Relatively little is known about these fascinating and unique fish but efforts are underway to learn more about them. There are only an estimated 7 species world wide and only the Smalltooth is known to inhabit Florida waters. They are thought to be endangered due to low reproductive rates, mortality due to by-catch in fishing nets. Some tribal societies consider them revered supernatural beings and some use their rostrum as a curiosity , good luck charm or ceremonial talisman. Some cultures also consider their fins a delicacy. They have been measured at 18 feet in length and may grow to over 20 feet long and weigh over 800 pounds. The long, bill -like extension of their upper jaw is called a rostrum which has 24 - 32 tooth like structures called denticles. They primarily eat bottom dwelling crustaceans and fish, using their rostrum as a weapon to stun and cripple their prey. They have been protected in Florida since 1992 and listed under the United States Endangered Species Act as an endangered species since April 1, 2003.

Florida Bay Smalltooth Sawfish

U.S. Navy helicopter pilot Lt. Kristin Lowd was fishing in Florida Bay with Captain Todd Monson of Out of the Blue Charters, looking for redfish and a smalltooth sawfish swam by and ate a shrimp offered by Kristin. The fish was released as required by state and federal law.

Due to the rarity of these unique creatures, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) requests that anglers that encounter them, hooked or not, to report the sighting by sending an e-mail to Sawfish@MyFWC.com or call 941-255-7403. This information is valuable in the research effort.

We thank you for your interest and look forward to your visit to the Sportfishing Capital of the World, Islamorada, Florida.



Islamorada, Florida Offshore Fishing Summer 2012

Greetings From World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada, Florida. Offshore fishing this summer has been good but the last couple of weeks have been more gratifying for the dolphin fanatics.

Islamorada Dolphin Summer 2012

Tuna fishing has been good and a few marlin have surprised some unsuspecting anglers as well. The marlin have had a tendency to show up in the trolling spreads of dolphin anglers especially around the full and new moon periods. Marlin like to eat dolphin, just like we do. Having a 400 pound fish ripping line from a trolling line when you're expecting something between 10 and 80 pounds, can be quite a surprise.

Islamorada Dolphin Summer 2012Islamorad Cobia Summer 2012

This group of happy anglers did pretty well on "schoolie" size dolphin before some bad weather blew in. They also caught a 40 pound cobia with Captain Marc Toledo of All Lit Up Charters docked at World Wide Sportsman's Bayside Marina.  Anglers fishing deep for grouper and swordfish are returning to the docks with smiles and sore arms as well.

This summer's snapper spawn has produced good action around the full moon on the reef and the yellowtail snapper bite is providing bent rods and full coolers.

This year's Florida Lobster Sport Season was a success once again, especially for the experienced hunters. Anglers that remember productive shelters for these yummy crustaceans find that those key locations produce year after year. Even those lobster hunters that did not harvest their limits had fun and beautiful weather to enjoy diving and snorkeling the waters of the Florida Keys. The Florida Lobster Sport Season occurs on the last consecutive Wednesday and Thursday of July each year and provides a head start to the recreational anglers before the commercial traps go in the water and begin to be harvested on August 6 of each year. It is a very traditional end of summer event for families to spend some time in the water before the school year starts anew.

We look forward to great fall fishing action and hope to have you join us in the Sportfishing Capital of the World, Islamorada, Florida.




Islamorada Inshore Fishing Report Summer 2012

Greetings from World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada, Florida. We have had beautiful weather this summer. Shallow water anglers have enjoyed good fishing for bonefish, tarpon, redfish, snook and permit. The new pole/troll zone in Everglades National Park seems to be paying off. The fish seem less skittish and of course the habitat benefits from less seagrass destruction. The seagrass is critical to the eco-system by providing habitat for the fish (adult and juvenile), crustaceans and other invertebrates. 9400 acres in an area known as Snake Bight have been closed to internal combustion engine boat traffic. This area and many others in Florida bay are very shallow and have seen considerable damage to the seagrass due to boat traffic. Anglers having to use push poles or trolling motors have done less damage to the seagrass and reduced the commotion that high speed boat traffic creates. Roseate Spoonbills and other birds have been more frequently observed enjoying the benefits of this experiment to preserve the valuable eco system and recreational resources of Everglades National Park. Learn more about this area and efforts to restore the Florida Bay habitat from the National Park Service and the Everglades Foundation.

Anglers pursuing redfish, snook and tarpon throughout the Everglades have noticed an improvement in the quality of fishing, both in size and numbers of fish. Snook have been cruising the shorelines and taking advantage of the channels in good numbers. The bonefish, while always a challenge to find and entice have been working the Atlantic and Florida Bay side flats in good numbers. The Bayside anglers are reporting more opportunities than Oceanside. Fishing for permit in Florida Bay has been exceptional this summer. Quite a few permit over 25 pounds have been caught on flats in the backcountry.

Florida Bay Permit Summer 2012

This beautiful permit ate a fly presented by Morgan from Bozeman, Montana. Great job, Morgan!

     We look forward to great fishing this fall and hope you will join us here in the Sportfishing Capital of the World for the unmatched diversity of watersports activities that the Florida Keys have to offer.

Stop by World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada for the latest fishing reports and all the gear you need to make lifetime memories here in paradise!



49th Annual Gold Cup Tarpon fly Tournament

Twenty-five anglers competed for the 49th Annual Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament June 18 – 22, 2012 based out of The Lorelei in Islamorada, Florida.  Tarpon are caught on Fly Rod using 16lb Tippet and measured with the weight calculated by a formula. Eight weight fish, a minimum of 70 pounds were caught and released, and 36 tarpon a minimum of 4 feet were also caught and released.
A week of bad conditions challenged the full field of fly fishing anglers. In the end Steve Ward of Coppell, Texas was crowned the Grand Champion for 2012, fishing with Captain Rick Murphy of Homestead, FL. Steve and Rick caught 2 weight fish and 9 releases for a total of 3124 points. First runner-up angler is Thane Morgan of Amarillo, TX fishing with Captain Craig Brewer. Thane, the 2010 Grand Champion, caught 2 weight fish and 3 releases for a total of 2649 points. Second runner-up angler is Carlos Duncan, of Houston TX fishing with Captain Rob Fordyce, caught 2 weight fish and 3 releases for a total of 2417 points. Julian Robertson and Joe Rodriquez caught the largest tarpon, 119.9 pounds.  The most releases, 9, were caught by Ward and Murphy. Trophies were sculptures by Roge Fowler (www.fowlersculpture.com) and Jorge Martinez (www.jmartinezart.com).
     Ward & Murphy will have their names engraved on the Gold Cup Tarpon Tournament’s perpetual trophy on display at Worldwide Sportsman in Islamorada. They will join such legendary anglers as five-time grand champions Glenn Flutie and Andy Mill, four-time champion Billy Pate, three-time champions Sandy Moret, Eizo Marahashi and Jimmy Bell Jr., and a list of winners that includes baseball great Ted Williams. Murphy already has his name on the trophy as Guide to Champion Tim Mahaffey in 2006; many of  the pioneering guides of backcountry fly fishing whose also have their names are engraved on the trophy, including Jimmy Albright, Cecil Keith, Hank Brown, Nat Ragland, Jack Brothers and Stu Apte.
The 50th Gold Cup tournament will be June 17 - 21, 2013. For more informationcsasun@aol.com  visit our web site www.goldcuptt.com.


Islamorada Offshore Fishing June 2012

Greetings From Islamorada, Florida! The "Deep Drop" season is upon us and anglers are enjoying great fishing. Bottom fishing over 240 feet re-opened in early May. Lots of nice grouper, snapper and swordfish have been putting serious bends in angler's rods, smiles on their faces and delicious meals on their tables.

June 2012 Daytime Islamorada SwordfishThis beautiful Islamorada swordfish was caught by Pete Corbo from Pennsylvania fishing with Captain James Chappell aboard CatchALottaFish, based here at World Wide Sportsman. They were fishing over 1600 feet of water during the day, using dolphin belly as bait. It weighed in at 144 pounds.

In the days around the new and full moons, we have had some nice blue and white marlin showing up to provide some big game excitement too.

Captain Chappell has also had some nice snapper and grouper bites as well. This beautiful mutton snapper and nice black grouper were caught using live speedos as bait at 200 feet deep.

Islamorada Black Grouper June 2012Islamorada Mutton Snapper June 2012









Islamorada Dolphin june 2012Dolphin fishing has been good and we are looking forward to GREAT dolphin fishing. Some big fish have been landed but more often the catches have been about quantity rather than quality. Captain Chappell found this nice dolphin below a frigate bird. When getting ready to go dolphin fishing, don't forget your fly rod!   The same 9 and 12 weight rods used inshore will work just fine. Fishing offshore with a fly rod takes some co-operation but can provide great action even for inexperienced fly casters. It’s not uncommon to have an offshore party hook up over 40 dolphin in one outing. Even the small fish hit hard, jump high and often and taste great. Use 10 foot leaders with 30 pound fluorocarbon shock tippets for the small dolphin on the 9 weight and 50 pound shock tippets on the 12 weight rod for tuna and big bull dolphin. Make sure to use a class tippet at least 30 percent less in breaking strength than your backing. You never know when a big mako shark, wahoo, marlin or something else is going to show up to eat your hooked fish. Floating debris and other boats can also cause problems for your rigging. Make sure that the "weak link" in your system is near the fly instead of behind your expensive fly line. Flies and tippets are easily replaced, fly lines are not and no one wants to have their fish swim away pulling 110 feet of fly line behind them. Size 2/0 bait fish patterns in all white, blue/white and green/white are favorites but other colors will work. My personal favorite is Enrico Puglisi's Pilchard. Try some poppers for some spectacular surface strikes. Keep several fly patterns and sizes handy. Quite often, a group of dolphin will not eat the same fly that their "school mate" just ate. Changing patterns to a different size, shape or color will put them back in a biting mood. Come on down and enjoy the fishing and water sports "utopia" that makes Islamorada and the Florida Keys the Sportfishing Capital of the World. We thank you for your interest and look forward to meeting you here at World Wide Sportsman, your Bass Pro Shop in the Florida Keys!


2012 Don Hawley Invitational Tarpon Fly Tournament

Islamorada, Florida recently hosted the second event of the "triple crown" of tarpon fly fishing tournaments.
The 38th Don Hawley Invitational Fly Tarpon Tournament opened with a full field of 25 boats competing for the winning title. Teams compete for points based on the number of released tarpon measuring four feet and over in the 12 pound class tippet and 16 pound class tippet divisions. The 25 teams released a total of 138 Silver Kings, 120 fish in the 12 pound division and 18 in the 16 pound class division during the five days of the tournament.

This year’s tournament turned into a tight last day battle with 8 teams starting day 5 with between 7 and 11 releases. Charles Duncan, 3rd, of Houston, Texas and Captain Rob Fordyce of Homestead, Florida took the Grand Champion Award with  16 releases on 12 pound class tippet, bringing home the win with 7 releases on the last day. The team of Duncan and Fordyce are no strangers to the winner’s circle of the Hawley Tournament. The Duncan-Fordyce duo won the tournament in 2009 and 2010. This is the fourth Hawley win for Captain Rob Fordyce.

Steve Ward of Coppell, Texas guided by Captain Rick Murphy earned the Championship of the 12 pound class tippet division with 13 tarpon releases. Thane Morgan of Amarillo, Texas and Captain Craig Brewer took the 12 pound tippet First Runner Up award with 12 fish released.

Paul Nute of Islamorada, Florida and Captain Bou Bosso took home the top award in the 16 pound class tippet division with 6 tarpon released. Keith Robbins of Seattle, Washington guided by Captain Jared Raskob won First Runner Up in the 16 pound class with 5 fish released. Angler Kevin Lyden of Port Chester, New York fishing with Captain Greg Poland took the Best Other Fish Award with the release of a 30 inch snook. The Best New Angler trophy went to Sebastian Varney of New York, New York guided by Captain Bear Holeman.

The Don Hawley Invitational Fly Tarpon Tournament began in 1974 as a way to raise funds for the Don Hawley  Foundation, a foundation created to help support the Florida Keys guides in times of hardship and disability. The name of the foundation has recently been changed to the Guide’s Trust Foundation but it’s mission remains the same, assisting those guides in need. The Hawley Tournament is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the Keys and is by invitation. Next year’s tournament dates are June 2-7, 2013. For more information, please contact Betsy Bullard, Tournament Director, at fishnfever@bellsouth.net.

Tournament Winners