Anglers from across South Florida left the Boynton Beach and Boca Raton inlets early on a mid-August sunny Saturday morning to hook a variety of fish and raise money for Delray Beach charities at the 20th Anniversary Mark Gerretson Memorial Fishing Tournament held in Delray Beach.
In the Largest Overall Fish and Largest Kingfish categories, Joe Lucas of Delray Beach hooked a 34 lb. kingfish aboard Head First II to win $3,800 and bragging rights for an entire year. Not long after Lucas pulled up to the docks, Craig Elmore of Boynton Beach arrived aboard Hard Lines II with a colorful bright green and yellow 27 lb. bull dolphin (Mahi-Mahi). Elmore won the Largest Dolphin category with the catch and $400 in prize money.
Joan Vertefeuille of Delray Beach, won the top Lady Angler award for her 16 lb. kingfish caught aboard Reel Jewel. Top Jr. Angler honors went to Nicholas Samousakis, 12, of Boynton Beach for his 14 lb. kingfish caught aboard Perpetual Mocean. Samousakis, fishing with his father Doug Sarmousakis, also caught a couple of mahi-mahi and a triple tail, though the kingfish won him $100 and a new fishing pole.
The Largest Mystery Fish category went to Steve Sasso, for a 15 lb. bonita he caught netting him $400. The Family Fun title went to the Jim Gerretson family (daughters Brittany and Meagan and their husbands) who caught a nice $200.
"We were about 12 miles out when I caught the big bull dolphin. The first thing I thought was let's get him in the boat before he spits the hook," Elmore said. "It wasn't the biggest bull dolphin I've ever caught but one of the most colorful and beautiful. We caught him trolling along a slick like calm area and lines of seaweed in the water."
Hundreds of local sports fishing enthusiasts entered 39 boats in the tournament and raised $18,000 for local Delray Beach charities. Since 1994, the Mark Gerretson Memorial Fishing Tournament has supported local Delray Beach children and families by donating more than $113,000 to the community.
Mark's mother, Pat Gerretson, works tirelessly to promote the tournament year-round, with a dedicated tournament committee that includes Jen Buce, Tim Knapp, Deena Gerretson Chapman, Noel Bourque, Chris Reich, Carol Eaton, Gary "Falcon" Musial, Paul Shersty, Jim Gerretson, Jim Eaton and Brittany Roberts.
"Mark passed away in 2005, but his legacy continues to be honored through this annual fishing tournament," Pat Gerretson said. "It benefits so many people. He was a tireless supporter of our community. He championed an annual fishing tournament to raise money for charitable causes."
Mark Gerretson was president of the Delray Beach Jaycees, one of the tournament's inaugural sponsors and also was chairman of the Delray Affair, the city's largest outdoor festival.
Among the boats entered for the tournament, six were from Boca Raton, 18 left the docks out of Delray Beach, 10 entered out of Boynton Beach and one each sailed out from Hypoluxo, Lantana, Briny Breezes, West Palm Beach and Tequesta.
A total of 23 fish were weighed in during this year's tournament, including 10 kingfish, eight bonita and five dolphins.
"It was pretty flat out there. We went out the Boca Inlet and motored out to the north," Charlie Lord said. "In about a 100 ft. of water I caught my Kingfish."
Lord was the early leader in the Kingfish category with a 17 lb. beauty he hooked aboard Shamrock with Captain Mike Blake and Dan Lord.
For more information visit: mgmft.net or the Mark Gerretson Memorial Fishing Tournament webpage on Facebook.