By CHAD CARNEY
© St. Petersburg Times, published August 24, 2000
The World's Largest Spearfishing Tournament brought in the big fish, with 209 divers entered in the 35th annual St Pete Open Saturday at the Tierra Verde Resort and Yacht Club. The flat seas, light current and good visibility helped all the shooters find fish on their favorite wrecks and reefs.
Hunting deep water, Steve Bryan won the closest grouper category ever with his 86.7-pound black topping a group of three 80-plus pounders. Doug Strott's 31.4-pound cubera was the largest snapper turned in since 1991. The 20.2-pound hogfish Tim Lewis shot missed a tournament record by only .2 pounds. The top lobster, grabbed by Tim Connolly, weighed 9.1 pounds, Sam Carlino Jr.'s 52-pound amberjack won easily and the biggest sheepshead was 4.1 pounds, speared by Terrance Pitcher.
With a blown motor, the last thing Ritchie Zacker expected was a first-round fish, but his 35.1-pound barracuda came from only 5 miles out on the St. Pete Beach artificial reef.
Women's and youth categories were new this year and were won by Cricket Manuel, who shot an impressive 15.7-pound hogfish in a total weight of 29.8 pounds, and Jonathon Rice with a total of 18.7 pounds of grouper, snapper and hogfish.
For the 32-round tournament results see www.mobilescuba.com.
- Chad Carney teaches scuba and spearfishing. Call (727) 423-7775 or send him an e-mail, email@example.com.