Dawes, Gable with 6th Annual March Merkin Key West Permit Tournament

Dawes, Gable with 6th Annual March Merkin Key West Permit Tournament
The sixth annual March Merkin, was held this week (march 14-17) at the Key West Harbour Yacht Club. The event ended on a high note after 26 boats spent three days chasing the ?Black Tailed Devils? from the Marquesas to the Content Keys with 10 fish caught.This fly fishing tournament for permit, one of the most difficult flats species to corral on a fly, attracted a diverse cast of permit fanatics from around the western hemisphere. The winner was Mike Dawes, a fishing guide from Victor Idaho who also won the Jackson Hole One Fly last summer.This was Dawes? fourth attempt to win the March Merkin, and he pulled it off going Away,  by catching, tagging and releasing a permit during each day of fishing. His guide was Captain Don Gable of Key West and Victor.Second place went to Dr. Jon Ain, the Tournament Director, fishing with Captain Doug Kilpatrick, who had guided him to two prior championships in this most competitive of permit tournaments. Second runner-up was Doug Behrman of Tallahasee, a prior Del Brown tournament winner, fishing with veteran Captain Kevin Guerin, a familiar winner on the Keys tournament circuit. They also won the largest fish award with a permit that had a 29 inch fork lengthThe March Merkin was the site in 2010 of the kickoff of Florida Project Permit, a tagging study on the species sponsored by Costa Del Mar Sunglasses in conjunction with Bonefish Tarpon Trust. This represented the first ever attempt to tag permit in order to answer basic questions about permit population, growth rates and movements.The 2011 March Merkin tournament required anglers and guides to not only measure the fish before release, but to tag them as well. The Merkin is a charity tournament benefitting Bonefish Tarpon Trust and the Don Hawley Foundation. Tournament information is available at www.marchmerkin.com. Information about Permit tagging as well as scientific and conservation issues affecting Bonefish, Tarpon and Permit around the world can be found at www.tarbone.org
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