KEY WEST, Florida Keys — Jeff Pierce of Scottsville, N.Y., released six barracuda measuring a total of 269.5 inches to win the spin division of the 2012 Cuda Bowl Tournament that ended Feb. 4 in Key West.
Pierce earned the title of divisional grand champion fishing with Captain Justin Rea of Sugarloaf Key, Fla., while Rea was named the division’s grand champion guide.
Their barracuda measured 41.25, 44, 44, 46.5, 46.75 and 47 inches.
Rea, the tournament’s co-organizer who also fished it with Pierce in 2011, said Pierce’s determination was a deciding factor in the victory.
“He stood up there and he casted all day long, and that’s what really helped us win,” said Rea. “It was that determination that kept him in the game.”
Trent Miller of Hamilton, Ill., pulled off a last-minute win in the tournament’s fly division, releasing three barracuda on fly during the final hour of the second fishing day. Guided by Captain Scott Irvine of Key West, Miller scored fish measuring 25, 24 and 25.75 inches for a total of 74.75 inches. He and Irvine took the division’s grand champion angler and guide titles, respectively.
Runner-up in the spin division was Charles Robinson of Warrenton, Va., fishing with Captain Pat Bracher of Cudjoe Key, Fla. Their catches measured 48, 44.5, 43.25, 43.5, 42.5 and 45 inches for a total of 266.75 inches.
Nathaniel Linville of Key West took the runner-up title in the fly division with barracuda measuring 28 and 46.0625 inches, for a total just .688 inches less than Miller’s.
His guide was Captain Aaron Snell of Key West.
The tournament’s largest barracuda, at 49 inches, was caught by Lynn Bell of Summerland Key, Fla., while Miller’s 24-inch fish was the smallest.
Rules of the all-release tournament mandated that anglers must fish in poleable depths of water with artificial flies and lures.
Each angler could count three fish per day toward his or her total.
The flats challenge drew 23 anglers fishing on 17 boats.