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Team Outer Limits’ white marlin and sailfish releases tops in Key West Marlin Tournament


Releases of a white marlin and a sailfish proved to be the winning combination for the Outer Limits team, skippered by veteran Key West Capt. Jay Miller, at the 41st annual Key West Marlin Tournament that ended Saturday, July 22, off the Florida Keys.

The two billfish releases earned the team first place and a prize estimated to exceed $100,000, according to tournament director Tim Greene.

Eric Harpel of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, released the sailfish on the second day of the three-day tournament. Not long afterward, Outer Limits teammate Tyler Whitmore of Lawrence, Kansas, released the white marlin.

“We caught the sailfish first and immediately got the baits out there, and it wasn’t but just a couple of minutes that elapsed and the white marlin came up on the right outrigger,” said Miller, who has been in the Keys charterboat industry for 22 years. “It popped the lure, but then went to the left rigger and bit a balao.”

Miller, who said he has fished the tournament since 2004, credited the first-place finish to his anglers’ skill.

“They did an excellent job,” he said. “I’ve had the tournament in my grasp but just never have been able to solidify it — but we did it this year.”

Linda D V, with Key West’s Capt. Billy Wickers III at the helm, ended the tournament in second place. Team member Nicholas Cioffi of West Palm Beach, Florida, released a blue marlin estimated at 400 pounds on the first fishing day after a fight that lasted nearly four hours.

Sanctuary, skippered by A. J. Barry and part of Key West’s Cowboy Cowgirl fishing fleet, placed third after angler Craig Vaughn of Richardson, Texas, released a blue marlin estimated to weigh 250 pounds. According to Barry, the marlin was the first offshore fish Vaughn had ever caught.

Organizers said the 2023 Key West Marlin Tournament drew about 175 anglers fishing on 32 boats. It took place in conjunction with the annual Hemingway Days festival that salutes the literary talent and angling prowess of the late author, who lived and wrote on the island in the 1930s.

Greene announced July 17-20 as dates for the 2024 tournament.

For information, visit http://www.KeyWestMarlin.com.

Photo by M.X Photography
Photo by M.X Photography

The Outer Limits team earned first place at Key West Marlin Tournament that ended Saturday, July 22, after team members released a white marlin and a sailfish. From left, Outer Limits Capt. Jay Miller, Key West, Tyler Whitmore, Lawrence, Kansas, who released the marlin, Eric Harpel of Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, who released the sailfish, Kim Hollond, Bryan Whitmore and Jim Lauer; and Outer Limits mate Kiah Colbert, Key West.

Nicholas Cioffi, front, of West Palm Beach, Florida, releases a blue marlin estimated at 400 pounds Thursday, July 20, on the first fishing day of the annual Key West Marlin Tournament. Cioffi fished on the Linda D V skippered by Key West’s Capt. Billy Wickers III, with, from rear, his parents Mike Cioffi and Laura Cioffi of West Palm Beach and mate A.J. Staggs of Key West. The Linda D V team took second place in the tournament.

team with fish beside boat
Photo by Captain Billy Wickers III
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Photo provided by Outer Limits

A sailfish is brought to the boat by the Outer Limits team before its release Friday, July 21, the second fishing day of the three-day Key West Marlin Tournament. The sailfish release and the release of a white marlin earned the Outer Limits team, captained by Jay Miller of Key West, first place in the tournament that was held in conjunction with the Hemingway Days festival.

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