Naples’ doctor increases lead to win third annual Rolex/IGFA Inshore Championship Tournament

32 anglers from 10 states in world class competition in the Florida Keys


ISLAMORADA In-The-Florida-Keys ---Three days of steady consistent fishing helped Dr. Mike Gallops to win the Third Annual Rolex/IGFA Inshore Championship Tournament among a field 32 world-class fly and light tackle anglers from 10 states.  

The Naples, Fla., family physician caught eleven redfish, six snook and one bonefish to net the grand champion title of the event.

“Consistency was the key,” said Gallops, who used artificial baits to catch all but the bonefish.  “I had three great guides over these three days who combined their strengths with mine.”

Gallops fished with Capt. Larry Sydnor, Ft. Lauderdale, in his final round. He also credited Captains Jim Willcox and Rusty Albury both of Islamorada for fruitful days in the first and second rounds. 

The runner up grand champion as well as the overall release angler with the most points was Jim Bokor, Tavernier. The events defending champion, Bokor caught seven redfish, two tarpon and one bonefish. 

Day one leader Mitch Howell, Plantation, Fla., finished next and one of the youngest competitors Brooke Denkert, Miami, placed in the top four. The 17-year old senior from Miami Palmetto High School caught nine redfish and two snook.

“I knew coming into this tournament I was facing some of the world’s best anglers,” Denkert said. “I worked with three awesome guides and each helped me to better my score each day.  I’m thrilled to have just qualified to be here.”

Miss Denkert, Dr. Gallops, Bokor and Howell all received Rolex watches and trophies for their top finishes. 

All of the competitors had won at least one of the 47 International Game Fish Association (IGFA) sanctioned qualifying events during 2002, held in 22 states and on four continents worldwide.  The mix of anglers included four women and several celebrities.

Pat Dorsy, Miami, and the event’s inaugural grand champion finished fifth in the standings.   

The tournament’s oldest competitor, fishing legend Stu Apte, 72, Tavernier, finished sixth overall.  Rounding out the top 10 in overall points were Robert Lawrence, Greensboro, NC; Robert Collins, Naples; Lloyd Brokaw, New York City, NY and Charlie Shea, Colorado Springs, Co. 

            The top winners in each of the angling divisions were:  Mark Cooper, Aurora, Co., as the top Fly Rod; Lawrence as the top bait caster and Gallops in the artificial lure division.  

For the second year in a row Capt. Rich Tudor was the top guide to the anglers.  Capt. Rusty Albury and Capt. Joe “Kiwi” Hughes finished second and third respectively.  All three guides are from Islamorada.

The Rolex/IGFA ICT features three days of fishing matching a different guide and angler each day determined in an earlier drawing. The targeted species for the championship were bonefish, tarpon, snook, redfish and permit in a catch-and-release format. No one was able to catch a permit in the competition.

The point value of the fish was determined by species and the angler’s choice of fly-fishing, using artificial lures or casting live bait. The rotating guide and angler format relieves the ‘home field’ advantage to a degree and lends itself to maximizing not only the angler’s strengths, but also the guide’s.

Cheeca Lodge and Worldwide Sportsman, both at mile marker 82 in the Keys, are the headquarters for the event. 

Rolex watches were awarded to the grand champion for most slam
points, and the three top release anglers with total points regardless of the
species within the target group. The top three guides also received awards among the 16 overall awards presented.

The ICT is one of two world-class series events that include the fourth annual Rolex/IGFA Offshore Championship Tournament that will be held May 11-17, 2003, in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.  In that tournament teams of anglers from over 20 countries will be represented from over 80 qualifying tournaments competing for a variety of billfish around the southern tip of the Baja Peninsula.

With title sponsor Rolex and platinum sponsors Hell’s Bay Boats and Mercury Outboards, other sponsors of the ICT include Cheeca Lodge and Spa, King Sailfish Mounts, James Harris Fine Arts, World Wide Sportsman, Hook and Tackle, G.Loomis, Bacardi, Stiffy Push Pole, Islamorada Fish Co., Cape Fear / Fin-Nor, Redbone Gallery, Leader Products and AmeriStitch Custom Embroidery.

The IGFA is a nonprofit, membership-supported, conservation and record-keeping organization founded in 1939 with members in over 120 countries. The association welcomes visitors to the 60,000 square foot IGFA Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum in Dania Beach, Florida. For further information, contact Mike Myatt at the International Game Fish Association, 300 Gulf Stream Way, Dania Beach, Florida 33004   Email: mmyatt@igf, Phone (954) 927-2628 Fax (954) 924-4299.  

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