KEY WEST, Fla. After a tough morning, brothers David and Cal Collier Jr. caught and released four permit in just over an hour to claim team grand champion honors Sunday on the final day of the Mercury Southernmost Light-Tackle Anglers Masters (SLAM) Tournament.
David, of Old Greenwich, Conn., and Cal, of Atlanta, each caught two permit using live crabs for bait Sunday afternoon fishing with Capt. Justin Rea. Those fish completed two flats grand slams permit, bonefish and tarpon for David and one for Cal.
"It feels great," David said of the victory. "When you're fishing with your brother, you'd rather win the team title than the individual."
David had caught two bonefish, one on bait and one on fly, and two tarpon on fly Saturday. His brother had caught a bonefish on bait and one on fly and a tarpon on fly.
They started Sunday by running west of Key West to the Marquesas to try for permit and their slams, but their only shot was at a bonefish, which Cal hooked on his fly rod, but the fish broke off.
They ran back to Key West, where David hooked a permit, but that fish broke off around noon.
"We were pretty low there for a while," David said.
Rea, who was the winning captain in the Del Brown Permit Tournament in July, guiding his angler to a tournament-record seven permit on fly, eventually took the Colliers to another permit spot.
"As soon as we got there, a single permit swam up, David threw a crab, it eats and he got his slam," Cal said, adding that the 15-pound fish was caught a little before 2 p.m. "Five minutes later, two permit swim up and I caught a 20-pounder. Now we've both got a slam.
"Then Dave hooked a monster permit, a 34-inch fish that went about 30 pounds that took him 30 minutes to land. That was at 2:45, so now he's double-slammed. Then I hook up to the biggest permit of all. It also was 34 inches, but it weighed 30-35 pounds. That was right after 3 o'clock, so we caught four permit in an hour and 15 minutes."
The Collier brothers just did beat out Mitch Howell and Larry Vaught, both of Plantation, Fla., who fished with Capt. Tim Carlile.
Howell, who was the only angler to catch a slam Saturday, caught eight bonefish Sunday five on live shrimp and three on a jig to finish with a two-day total of 1,400 points. Vaught caught a slam Sunday a tarpon on a shrimp, then a permit on a crab, then two bonefish on shrimp to go with a bonefish Saturday for 500 points and a team total of 1,900.
The Colliers also had 1,900 points, 1,200 for David and 700 for Cal. The title goes to the team with the highest point total for the second angler, which indicates a more balanced team. Cal's 700 points beat out Vaught's 500.
Mo Smith won grand champion angler honors with 2,600 points fishing with Capt. Mark Krowka. He had eight bonefish on bait Saturday and added a bonefish, four permit and four tarpon on bait Sunday.
Asked to comment on his victory, Smith refused, saying, "I don't like to read about myself."
Former Denver Broncos lineman Mark Cooper was the top celebrity angler, catching two permit on bait Sunday for 200 points fishing with Capt. Scott Irvine. The 23 two-angler teams caught and released a two-day total of 61 bonefish, 47 tarpon and 22 permit.
Steve Waters is the outdoors writer for the Sun Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale. Read more of his stories at sunsentinel.com/outdoors