The 9th annual March Merkin Permit Tournament was held last week in the Florida Keys, and at the end of three days of fishing, the winner was Mike Dawes, of WorldCast Anglers. A former Trout Bum of the Week, Dawes is a permit junkie, despite the fact that he lives in Idaho. This was his second March Merkin win, as he took top prize in 2011, as well. About this year’s victory, Dawes says,
It was an honor to come back and participate in the March Merkin after taking a couple of years off. While the conditions were extremely pleasant, it was a little too nice for permit fishing! The fish were a little twitchy, but Capt. Will Benson was able to put us on a couple of happy, large fish fish that we were able to land on Day 1, and although playing with the lead is never ideal, it worked out in our favor. Congrats to first runners-up Sam Kaufman and Capt. Jared Raskob and second runners-up Mike Ward and Capt. Don Gable. Thanks to Dave Horn for putting on an amazing tournament and supporting Bonefish & Tarpon Trust in its vital work in research. The first permit to ever be acoustically tagged in the Florida Keys was one caught during the tournament, a true testament to the event.
Both Dawes and second runner-up Ward were fishing the new Helios 2 One-Piece rods, which are becoming favorites among tournament anglers.