Hurricanes football alumni, save for Hall of Famer Ted Hendricks, played mainly in a backup capacity in Saturday’s fourth annual University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame Celebrity Dolphin Tournament presented by Deep Impact Boats.
Hendricks was top scorer among the many Canes who competed in the one-day Islamorada event, placing fourth overall with a 28.5-pound mahi caught aboard Priority. But several alums played supporting roles, including Benny Blades who reeled in a 15-pounder aboard Team Deep Impact. Blades’ catch enabled fishing teammate John Schowchow to take the larger of the two fish that struck Deep Impact’s baits — a 30.60-pounder, good for third place and $1,000.
“I brought in the cow, and he brought in the bull,” Blades proclaimed proudly. “I’m happy. It was a great day for us.”
Super Bowl champion Warren Sapp didn’t catch any whoppers but instead served as cheerleader for his friend, Denise Marx, who reeled in a 16.2-pounder aboard Free Enterprise. Sapp said he fishes quite a bit, catching snook in Tampa Bay and, more recently, his first white marlin in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic.
“I love it. I’m a Florida boy,” Sapp said. “I’d never miss this. It’s always fun to be back with the boys.”
Tournament host Michael Irvin, a three-time Super Bowl winner with the Dallas Cowboys, didn’t weigh any fish but spent plenty of time posing for photos and signing autographs during dockside parties.
The big winners were the four-man, non-Cane team on Boats Direct/Vengeance. Boat owner Mark Fischer, captain Clayton Kirby and anglers Jason Obermann and Scott Ross teamed to take top dolphin honors with a 39.10-pounder and heaviest total weight of 81.5 pounds. Their winnings totaled $13,136.
Kirby said the big fish ate a blue runner that he cast out about 25 miles offshore, and it took Ross about 40 minutes to reel it in.
Mike Camgiene on Main Attraction caught the runner-up dolphin of 33.6 pounds, worth $2,000.
Proceeds from the tournament benefit Habitat for Humanity of the Upper Keys, the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame and the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis. A fleet of 75 boats competed.