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Team Sandman Captures Win at Jimmy Johnson Billfish Championship

KEY LARGO, Florida Keys — Team Sandman of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, led by Miami’s Captain John Dudas, tallied 12 sailfish releases to take top honors at the two-day Billfish Championship, a main event of the Jimmy Johnson “Quest for the Ring” Fishing Championship Week that ended Saturday.

Anglers fished over an expanded 112-mile boundary — new this year — from waters off Islamorada and Key Largo in the upper Florida Keys to Fort Lauderdale, with three host marinas.

The Sandman team was presented with authentic, custom-designed Jimmy Johnson’s NBC Championship rings for each team member, in addition to $238,000 in overall prize money.

Dudas’ team included Miami anglers Domi Adams, Alex Castalonos, Jeffrey Liederman, Ryan Montesino, Robbie Watick and Robbie Ramirez, who was named top master angler. Sandman’s boat owner and angler Sandra MacMillan released three sails to earn the tournament’s top female honors for the second consecutive year.

Captain KJ Zehar led the De-Bait-Able team, based in Palm Beach, Florida, to second place with 11 releases. Team Reel Estate, also with 11 releases, ended in third place based on time. Reel Estate’s anglers, from West Palm Beach, Florida, were led by Captain Dallas Twist.

Second- and third-place teams earned $195,00 and $66,500 in prize money, respectively.

Team Tekeze Charters of Islamorada, led by Captain Charles Hertel, won top honors in the weighted division and total winnings of $42,500 for two kingfish weighing 35 and 31.5 pounds.

A $1.6 million total purse for the annual Jimmy Johnson Fishing Championship Week was paid out, according to organizers. The multiday event attracted 98 boat teams that released 435 sailfish and one white marlin.

Each year, the philanthropic event raises funds for the Community Initiatives Foundation, a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization dedicated to supporting fundraising programs throughout South Florida, including Tranquil Shores Foundation.

The Sandman team was presented with authentic, custom-designed Jimmy Johnson’s NBC Championship rings for each team member, in addition to $238,000 in overall prize money.

The Sandman team was presented with authentic, custom-designed Jimmy Johnson’s NBC Championship rings for each team member, in addition to $238,000 in overall prize money.

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