Palm Beach Inlet Steals the Show at the 2012 Sailfish Challenge!
Total # of Boats: 72 Total # of Releases: 185
Sailfish teams up and down the coast have been craving a good sailfish bite for several weeks. For the 72 teams fishing in the 2012 Sailfish Challenge presented by Mercury Marine, that craving was satisfied. 185 fish were released in the one-day, 3-inlet tournament. 37 teams checked out of Government Cut in Miami, 27 teams checked out of Hillsboro Inlet in Pompano Beach and 8 teams cleared Lake Worth Inlet in West Palm.
The bite leading up to the tournament was very inconsistent. However, the best fishing was reported to be in the waters off Miami as witnessed by the number of boats that declared Government Cut as their checkout inlet on tournament morning. However, Bernard Paul-Hus, owner of the SkipJac II team had different plans. With the approaching cold front forecast to move through South Florida sometime on Saturday, Bernard and his captain Randy Towe were hedging their bet that the sailfish bite in Palm Beach would heat up on the back side of the front as it passed through Palm Beach county. That theory and their resolve would be tested to its limits after the team pre-fished off Palm Beach the day before the tournament and did not even catch a sailfish. Yet, the team did not waiver. They stuck to their guns and decided to roll the dice out of Palm Beach the next day.
On tournament day, the SkipJac II team picked away at a few fish early on in the morning to keep themselves in contention. By 12pm they were sitting in 3rd place with 5 releases. And then the front passed through. The wind and the waves kicked up and so did the sailfish bite for SkipJac II. A pack of fish came through their spread and just like that they had 5 fish on. The team quickly jumped from 5 releases to 10 and managed to catch 4 more before the day was over. Even more impressive, the team capitalized on every bite they had, going 14 for 14 in the tournament. They collected a sizable check for $118,450 in first place with a bonus $500 for winning the tournament with Diamond fishing line.
Sailfish weren’t the only fish biting out of Palm Beach Inlet during the Sailfish Challenge. Team Live Wire caught the heaviest fish of the tournament, a 47.1 pound Kingfish. They collected $12,960 for the heaviest fish of the tournament and an additional $1,000 for the heaviest Kingfish of the tournament.
Further, to the south the boats out of Hillsboro Inlet and Government Cut found themselves in a battle for 2nd though 10th place in the tournament. As the afternoon bite picked up, there was a lot of leapfrogging taking place on the leader board. 4 Aces made an afternoon charge to finish with 8 releases in 2nd place and a paycheck for $59,390. Team Clean Slate posted a steady pace all day and finished with 7 releases in 3rd place. They won $23,340. Interestingly, each of the top 3 boats in the tournament checked out of different inlets. Janene Claus was the top female angler aboard Qualifier with 400 points and Tristen Lambert on board Reely Tight was the Top Junior Angler with 600 points. Gale Force was the top amateur team with 600 points fishing out of Government Cut. Total payouts for the 2012 Sailfish Challenge were in excess of $241,000. For more information, visit www.sailfishchallenge.com or call 954-725-4010
1. Skipjac II, 2800 pts
2. 4 Aces, 1600 pts
3. Clean Slate, 1400 pts
4. Reely Tight, 1400 pts
5. Get Lit, 1400 pts
6. El Palacio de los Jugos, 1400 pts
7. Kimbuktu, 1200 pts
8. Captain Jack, 1200 pts
9. Hard Way, 1200 pts
10. Advanced Roofing, 1200 pts
Top Amateur Team: Gale Force, 600 pts
Master Angler: Mike Riesert, Skipjac II, 1000 pts
Top Female Angler: Janine Claus, Qualifier, 400 pts
Top Junior Angler: Tristen Lambert, Reely Tight, 600 pts
Heaviest Dolphin: Hard Way, 20.0 lbs
Heaviest Wahoo: Wish List, 36.7 lbs
Heaviest Kingfish: Live Wire, 47.1 llbs