Islamorada-based Weez in the Keys, skippered by captain Chris Zielinski, released 23 sailfish Friday and Saturday to win top boat honors in the Jimmy Johnson National Billfish Championship in Key Largo. Sharing the victory were boat owner Scott Robins and crew members Brett Dudas, Roy Huff, Reid Kline, Shane Pyle and Wayne Savage. Blue Time, skippered by Bill Wieteha, was runner-up team with 20 sails. Contender One., skippered by captain Quinton Dieterle, took third place with 18 releases, and team member Rick Murphy was top angler with six fish. Friday’s leader, 4 Aces, skippered by John Louie Dudas, finished fourth with 16. OCD’s Cece Imbriu was top female, scoring six sails. The fleet of 25 boats released 164 sailfish Friday and Saturday.
▪ The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will hold two webinars this week to get public input on the resumption of black bear hunting in Florida following a 20-year prohibition and other bear management proposals. The sessions will be held Monday and Thursday at 6 p.m. Pre-registration is required. For the Monday webinar, go to https://normandeau.webex.com/normandeau/j.php?RGID=r6f425b738927bd82065ed4fcc33fd0c1. For the Thursday session go to: https://normandeau.webex.com/normandeau/j.php?RGID=rf90c298cf66e341482bfb128f5152400. A copy of the agenda and workshop information are available at http://www.MyFWC.com/Bear and by calling 850-922-4330. If you don’t have a computer and want to listen by phone, call 352-372-4747 and ask for Alexis Hampton.
▪ Springtime is peak season for the mating of horseshoe crabs along Florida’s beaches. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission is surveying the species whose population has declined in recent decades and needs the public’s help by reporting sightings. Peak times for spotting horseshoe crabs are around high tide within three days of the new or full moon. The last new moon was Friday and the next full moon is April 4. Note the crabs’ location and whether they are mating in an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 866-252-9326. Or you can log on to myfwc.com/Contact and use the online form under “horseshoe crab nesting activity.”
▪ Think outside the PFD and win $10,000. The BoatUS Foundation for Boating Safety and Clean Water and the Personal Floatation Device Manufacturers Association are conducting a “design a better life jacket” contest through April 15. Boaters, engineers, armchair inventors and others are encouraged to submit drawings, prototypes or other plans for a PFD that more people will wear. Entries will be judged based on wearability, reliability, cost and innovation. Top entries will be put to a public vote in June, and a panel of experts will pick the winner in September. Submit your designs at BoatUS.org/design.
▪ John Kilroy’s Samba Pa Ti was the overall winner of the recently concluded Melges Rocks Regatta on Biscayne Bay among 33 Audi Melges 20 teams. Marc Hollerbach and his crew on Fu finished the regatta in sixth place, but were crowned overall winners of the three-event 2015 Audi Melges 20 Miami Winter Series. The event was hosted by Coconut Grove Sailing Club.