Photo of tagged permit for Project Permit.

KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Dr. Greg Smith of Galveston, Texas, caught and released four permit, earning 513 points to win the 2012 March Merkin Permit Tournament that ended March 15. Smith, who was guided by Captain Scott Collins of Marathon, Fla., was named the tournament’s grand champion angler.

Points in the flats-and-fly-only challenge were awarded for releases based on the length of the permit and for tagging the fish. Smith tagged all four of his releases and also was recognized for scoring the tournament’s largest single catch.

“This year the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust and Project Permit, supported by Costa Del Mar, provided special reward tags to be used on the fish,” said tournament organizer Jon Ain. “These fish will entitle the person who recaptures the fish, measures its length and cuts off the tag to call BTT to receive a $100 reward.”

The tournament’s first runner-up was Ricky Ricardo of New York, N.Y. Guided by Captain Scotty Irvine of Key West, Ricardo released one permit to earn 135 points.

Defending champion Mike Dawes of Victor, Idaho, was named second runner-up angler for catching one permit that scored 134 points. His guide was Captain Don Gable of Key West.

Twenty-five permit enthusiasts fished the tournament and released a total of 10 permit. Event proceeds benefited the Bonefish & Tarpon Trust.

Florida Sportsman has a feauture story by Managing Editor David Conway in the April 2012 issue, “The Permit Zone,” about the new permit regulations, Project Permit, and ongoing research into the biology of the species.

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