I read Capt. Skip Smith’s article on the canceling of many once-popular billfish tournament­s, and it really brought back some memories. I started my fishing career as a mate on the half-day boat

Marathon Lady with Capt. Diane Putnam, and worked my way up through the ranks, fishing mostly out of Marathon in the Florida Keys for many years. I got my captain’s license, and my partner and I purchased a 32-foot Permacraft with a couple of turbocharg­ed Perkins diesels. You couldn’t tell us anything! After fishing that boat for many years, I captained several private boats, mostly billfishin­g and tournament­s. I was captain of Shotgun, a 55-foot Merritt owned by Ray L. Brown, when we won the Poco Bueno in 1982; Skip won it in 1981 on The Hooker. So, this is a bitterswee­t memory for both of us, knowing the tournament has been discontinu­ed. I have long since hung up my captain’s license, but I hope the great art of sport fishing lasts forever. Capt. Skip Randolph

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