- Mike Suchan, Outdoors
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KEY WEST, Fla. Risky Business had an operator error slowing their takeoff. Then things got worse.
The fish they had released Friday was deemed by officials reviewing photographs to be a sailifish, not a marlin worth 400 points. While knocking off 350 points changed their strategy, Danny Coll and Bernard Davis were not deterred.
The two-man team released two marlin on Saturday and added a dolphin to win the Drambuie Key West Marlin Tournament and the $25,000 first-place prize.
"I have no words to describe this. It is amazing," said Coll of Cudjoe Key, Fla.
Fishing on a 35-foot Cabo sportfisherman, the team had little time for anything else as they trolled as many as eight lines at the same time.
"We're running 7, 8 lines. I'm busy all day long," Coll said. "Changing baits, deweeding ... I don't have a lot of time to drink beer."
Early Saturday, Drambuie tournament chairman Tim Greene informed Coll and Davis that photographs showed the marlin they thought they caught Friday was actually a sailfish.
"We thought it was a marlin," said Davis of Big Pine Key. "It never showed a sail, it never indicated anything. Until a picture said something else, we were all convinced."
The setback was shrugged off quickly.
"We had a plan today," Coll said. "We knew this was a marlin tournament and went out (Saturday) expecting to catch fish. So we changed our strategy. I thought, we've got to get away from baits and use all lures.
"Once we got the first (marlin), we said, "We're back in it. Let's do it.' After the second one, we went dolphin fishing."
The Cajun Queen, made up of Greg Eklund and Mike Nichols, both of Islamorda, Fla., Brad Whitlock, Bob Whitlock, and Trey Myers, all of Fort Myers, Fla., finished second.
In third place was BFB with Jody Briard of Key West, and Paul Barret, Paulette Barret, Donna Barret and Steve Tucker of Gulfport, Fla.
In the Fun Fish Division, Robert Beck of Plant City, Fla., won with a 73.3-pound wahoo. Randy Sterling, Sr., of Key West, was second with a 42.2-pound dolphin, and Robert Collins of Miramar, Fla., was third with a 20.45-pound tuna.
After going through a polygraph test, Coll and Davis were happy with the victory, but exhausted after fishing so hard with such a short staff.
"You're really busy, and it's very tiring to fish all those lines," Coll said. "It doesn't allow you to drink a lot of beer."
Risky Business wins with two marlin releases on final day