FROM THE DIREC­TOR’S CHAIR

Marlin - - BEFORE THE STRIKE -

STU­ART SAIL­FISH CLUB LADIES TOUR­NA­MENT

Ev­ery year in Stu­art, Flor­ida, a group of lady an­glers — the Salt­wa­ter Sis­ters — gath­ers for fish­ing, fun and food to raise money for lo­cal char­i­ties. Re­cently, af­ter a rough day on the ocean, the ladies came back from fish­ing for a live auc­tion. As our ver­sion of Vanna White was strug­gling to show­case an over­flow­ing Yeti cooler full of good­ies for the crowd, two strap­ping young mates jumped up to as­sist her. One spir­ited an­gler yelled to the auc­tion­eer, “How much are they go­ing for?” as the whole tent erupted into laugh­ter. Yes, we do have fun! —Mar­garet Dyer

ALICE KELLY MEMO­RIAL LADIES ONLY BILL­FISH TOUR­NA­MENT

“Cap­tain’s choice” takes on a new mean­ing when there is only one fish­ing day a year and your char­ter party is com­posed of six women. Con­ven­tional wis­dom dic­tates that it should be called “the cap­tain thinks he has a choice.” The wind could be blow­ing 25 knots, or there could be well over 200 bill­fish re­leases. And that’s when the magic hap­pens: Each girl gets two turns in the chair, and there are dou­ble-digit re­lease flags on the rig­ger com­ing home. It’s also a hell of a send-off for the boys fish­ing in the Pi­rate’s Cove Bill­fish Tour­na­ment the next day, and the ladies love to show them how to get it done. —Heather Maxwell

KELI WAG­NER LADY AN­GLER TOUR­NA­MENT

So many thoughts popped up when I was asked for my fa­vorite story from our 20 years of the KWLA. We’ve had tiebreak­ers to win for most bill­fish re­leases, a dol­phin larger than the an­gler who caught it, a dy­ing fa­ther’s wish for his daugh­ter and then for her to win. How­ever, I think the fact that the KWLA sup­ports our lo­cal can­cer cen­ter is still by far the big­gest story of our 20 years and the rea­son these fish­ing women break records and bar­ri­ers each year. And our 2014 tour­na­ment had to be one of our fa­vorite fish­ing sto­ries, with Caro­line Wag­ner re­leas­ing the first blue mar­lin in the KWLA and Casey Wag­ner, her fa­ther, win­ning first place in the Big Rock. The KWLA was named af­ter the mother and wife of these two fab­u­lous peo­ple. —Crys­tal Hes­mer

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