May 2009

2009 Shell Key West Challenge
Celebrates 21 Years of Great Fishing

The 2009 Shell Key West Challenge passed another milestone as the tournament celebrated its 21st year by raising more than $60,000 for the Diabetes Research Institute, at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. This year’s donation brings the Shell Key West Challenge’s total charitable contributions to over $2 million, making it one of the Florida Keys most successful fishing tournaments.

The unique multi-species format provides a great variety of fishing experiences, from trolling for sailfish in the Gulfstream to sight-casting live bait to tarpon on the flats. The Shell Key West Challenge has become known as the scavenger hunt of fishing tournaments by local charterboat captains who work especially hard to show their anglers a great time on the water. This year’s tournament proved to be highly competitive and after two days of fishing, only 15 points separated the 1st and 2nd place teams.

Taking the overall title with 935 points was the Motiva Gulf Coast Wholesale team of Paul Stanifer, Paul McWhirter, Sammy Nooner, Henry Miller, and Raymond Smith.  The winning anglers fished with Capt. Joe Mercurio on the Jolly Roger. Capt. Joe has fished the waters around Key West for decades and finishes “in the money” almost every year.

Second place went to the Shell Oil Products/Great Lakes Region team of Mike Dodson, Randy, Dooley, Jeff Frost, Linc Clifton, Scott Taylor, and James Rossa. These guys from the cold north really appreciated the calm waters and warm days as they tallied a total of 920 points fishing aboard the Wild Bill with Capt. Art Duplessis.

The third place team of Don Volkerding, Dan Little, Jens Mueller, Alex Mclean, Alan Horowitz and David Bunch represented Afton Chemical. They fished with Capt. Billy Wickers III on board the Linda D V and finished the tournament with a score of 890 points. With just 45 points separating 1st through 3rd place, the 2009 tournament was one of the most hotly contested in recent history.

According to tournament founder Hayden Blaylock, the fishing during the 2009 Shell Key West Challenge was excellent and a great time was had by all 22 teams and 107 anglers. Fifteen sailfish were caught and released, as were tarpon, permit, and goliath grouper. One of the more notable catches was the 65# dolphin brought in by Lynn Jones of Columbia City, Oregon who was fishing with the Shell Oil Pacific Northwest team aboard Capt. Steve Magee’s Ramerezi. The team also took fourth place in the tournament.

In wrapping up the 2009 festivities, Shell USA vice president Hugh Cooley presented Mr. Blaylock with a $25,000 check for sponsorship of the 2010 tournament, thereby assuring that the Blaylock family, and many of their employees from Blaylock Oil Company in Homestead, will be busy coordinating the 22nd annual Shell Key West Challenge – April 22-25.


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