TAVERNIER, Florida Keys — Heralding the start of the much-anticipated Florida Keys dolphin fishing season, the 14th annual Nick Sheahan Dolphin Rodeo is set for Friday through Sunday, April 30 through May 2, in Tavernier.
The family-friendly angling challenge is named in honor of Nick Sheahan, a beloved Coral Shores High School student who died tragically in a diving accident in 2004.
The event is intended to both raise awareness of shallow-water blackout and raise monies to award graduating seniors at the Upper Keys’ Coral Shores High School scholarships through the Nick Sheahan Scholarship Fund. Since its inception, the tournament’s individual scholarships have totaled $275,000.
Events kick off Friday, April 30, with a dinner, silent auction and rules meeting planned at the tournament’s headquarters inside Tavernier Creek Marina, mile marker 90.8. Non-anglers who wish to attend can purchase tickets for $30 each.
Social events are to follow coronavirus masking and social distancing safety protocols.
Adult and junior anglers age 12 and under are to fish Saturday, May 1, from lines-in at 7:30 a.m. to lines-out at 4:30 p.m., and Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Trophies and cash prizes, including a new $5,000 first-place prize, are to be awarded to the top three adult anglers catching the heaviest dolphin fish. First- through third-place trophies are slated for the top junior anglers, and prizes can be won for the largest wahoo and tuna.
Entry fees are $200 per adult and $75 per junior angler through April 26. Anglers must register online at https://nicksheahan.com/dolphin-rodeo/#register.
Tournament information: nicksheahan.com
A highlight of the family-friendly challenge is a silent auction set for Friday, April 30, to help raise monies for the event's scholarship awards.