4 Aces, owned by Miamian Peter Adrian and skippered by John Dudas, tallied 16 sailfish releases to take top honors at the two-day Jimmy Johnson National Billfish Championship that ended Saturday in the Florida Keys. Tournament officials said that Adrian’s team amassed about $125,000 in prize money for the victory.
Adrian fished with fellow Miami anglers Robbie Ramirez, Alex Castellanos, Jeffrey Liederman and Ignacio Quintana.
Adrian and his team began Saturday’s second day of fishing in sixth place, three releases behind first-day leader Blue Time.
They caught a sailfish during the first half hour Saturday and soon after encountered a group of sailfish. Hooking five and releasing four, the team vaulted into the lead and never relinquished it.
“That gave us a big push,” said Adrian, who caught 11 of his team’s fish to win the tournament’s high-point angler title.
Adrian credited the victory to his team’s experience and to his captain’s patience.
“My team is very seasoned,” he said. “When we hook up to four or five fish, we’re usually pretty successful catching them.
“Besides that, John (Dudas) always does a great job of finding fish,” Adrian said. “While the other boats kept moving around, John stuck to one spot he picked and it turned out very good.”
In second place was Blue Time with 14 releases. Jichi was third with 13 fish.
The tournament, the third event of the Quest for the Crest sailfish series, attracted 46 teams whose anglers tallied 267 releases. Featuring a total cash prize purse of $480,200, the event benefited the University of Miami’s Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center.