10-Year-Old Angler Wins Lower Keys Dolphin Tournament for Team Lightly

BIG PINE KEY, Florida Keys — A 10-year-old angler outfished his elders to win first place for Team Lightly in the 23rd annual Big Pine & Lower Keys Dolphin Tournament that ended June 5.John Searcy of Key West, Florida, boated a 37-pound dolphin fish, the largest caught by anyone in the tournament’s 42-boat field, to earn the team $7,500. Lightly was captained by Jeff Searcy, the angler’s father, also of Key West.

According to the captain, the boat was about 20 miles southwest of Key West in 1,050 feet of water when the fish bit a ballyhoo.

“Biggest cow (dolphin) I’ve ever seen,” said Jeff Searcy of the prize catch that took about 20 minutes to boat. “She jumped a lot.”
Second place went to Brookstone, skippered by Jim Jones of Jeffersonville, Indiana. Team member Mike Driskell of Big Pine Key caught a 29.5-pound dolphin to secure second.

Team Sea Center earned third place with a dolphin weighing 28 pounds. It was caught by Jed Scanlon of Big Pine Key, who also captained the boat.

The tournament’s top female angler was Donna Hart of Big Pine Key. She caught a 22.75-pound dolphin while fishing on Let It Rip with Captain Patrick Hart, also of Big Pine Key.

In the junior division Chris Harrell of Odessa, Florida, took first place. Fishing on Mama’s Money, captained by his grandfather Cecil Harrell of Odessa, the 9-year-old caught a 14.95-pound dolphin.

According to event organizers, the angling contest attracted 188 participants.

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