The Jichi Fishing team had 18 releases at the end of the two-day 2013 Sailfish Kickoff tournament to win the event Saturday.
The team skippered by Luis Isaias, and comprised of Albert Castro, Ricky Quarjeta, Gean Lebron, James David and Hannibal Moya, brought in a $24,250 bounty with their first-place finish.
But it was top junior and overall angler James David that reeled in the big victory after releasing seven sails Saturday, in addition to the two he hooked up on day one.
Rockstar Original crew, owned and skippered by Jorge Piedra, started out the day in second place with eight releases. Piedra’s crew managed to find and release another seven sails for a total of 15, which was good enough for second place and $10,830.
Also, releasing seven was the OCD Fishing Team, skippered by Shawn Adams. The team placed third overall with 12 releases.
In the fun fish category, team Hit That caught the heaviest catch, a 40-pound kingfish.
Top finisher: Jichi 1800, Rockstar Original 1500, OCD 1200, Kraken 1100, El Palacio 900, Beep Beep 800, Notorious 800. Top angler: James David. Top female: Cece Imbrie.
After three days of fishing, Chad Morgenthaler, of Coulterville, Ill., won the Bassmasters Wild Card after two-day leader Shaye Baker fell behind in the finals Saturday.
His five-bass limit weighing 20 pounds, 12 ounces gave him 63-13 for the tournament.
It was enough to surpass Baker, who slipped to third with 59-8.
Jesse Tacoronte, of Orlando, was second with 59-11, and Russ Lane of Alabama was fourth with 59-2.
“I wanted to qualify for the Bassmaster Elite Series, so I signed up for all the Bassmaster Opens,” Morgenthaler said.
Miami Herald Wire Services contributed to this report.