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Golf pro wins Marathon International Bonefish Tournament

10/1/2008

MARATHON, Fla. — A PGA golf pro with many wins to his credit, Pat Bennett of Weston, Fla., triumphed in a different sport when he was named champion in the Marathon International Bonefish Tournament.

"That's my major fishing championship," said Bennett, who had never fished a tournament before.

He credited the win to his guide, Captain Albert Ponzoa of Marathon. Bennett and Ponzoa have fished together in the Keys for 23 years.

"I think it's all the guide," said Bennett. "He knows where to be at which tide phase, he just knows the area -- the guide makes you or breaks you."

On the tournament's first fishing day, Bennett caught 25 bonefish. On day two he landed another 14, followed by eight on the final day, bringing his tournament total to 47 bonefish and 4,700 points.

"Everywhere we went, we found fish," said Bennett.

The team champions were Dave Slicklen and Jim McHale from Needham, Mass., who earned 4,800 points. They fished with Captain Billy Rabito of Marathon.

Billy O'Herron of Myrtle Beach, S.C., earned the Grand Slam Fly Award for accomplishing a grand slam of bonefish, permit, and tarpon on fly. O'Herron fished with Captain B.J. Meyer of Marathon.

In the ladies' division, Barbara Hewlett of Marathon won with 2,200 points. She fished with Captain Butch Hewlett of Marathon and Timmy Carlile of Sugarloaf, Fla. She also won an award for a grand slam on a spinning reel.

The wet pants division win, for fish caught while wading near shore, went to Tiffany Hensley of Key West.

The Marathon International Bonefish Tournament attracted 12 boats and 23 anglers, who released 220 bonefish. Anglers vying for the grand slam award also released 22 permit and seven tarpon.