Hosted at Sailfish Marina on Singer Island, 37 of the best sailfishing teams in the world competed in the inaugural Operation Sailfish event – leg 1 of the highly touted Quest for the Crest Sailfish Series. The patriotic spirit for Operation Sailfish was electric during the opening ceremony. The event opened with the singing of the national anthem and the presentation of colors by the 4th Anglico Marines from West Palm Beach.
Despite mediocre fishing in advance of the tournament, things broke loose on the first day of fishing and never slowed down. 400 sailfish were released during the 2-day competition. 10 Minutes into the first day, the first sailfish release was called in. Release after release kept the teams in a tight battle all day long. In the heat of the competition, Absolut Joy managed to hook and catch 7 fish to bump themselves up to the top of the leaderboard with 14 releases for the day. Advanced Roofing finished behind them in 2nd with 12 releases and Liquid Skillstorm took the 3rd place spot with 11 releases on Day 1. Liquid finished just ahead of team Swagger on time. It was exhilarating to watch several of the boats in the fleet return to the marina flying rigger to rigger American flags for all the sailfish they released during the day. What an incredible way to show their support for our military!
By the start of Day 2, the teams were focused and ready to bring home the Altier Jewelers dog tags and claim the early lead in the Quest for the Crest. As Day 2 progressed, Absolut Joy, Advanced Roofing, Liquid Skillstorm and Lights Out found themselves in a 4-way tie for first place. BAR South made a late charge in the afternoon to claim the top team position on day 2. They hooked fish number 12 two minutes before lines out to leap frog Advanced Roofing for the daily.
With two consecutive 2nd place daily finishes, Advanced Roofing sealed their fate as the first place team in the inaugural Operation Sailfish event. They finished the tournament with 23 releases and a sizeable paycheck for $172,625! They weren’t the only team that collected a nice check. Liquid Skillstorm nabbed $49,830 in second. The daily’s paid off big for Absolut Joy, who earned $71,300 and BAR South with $64,800. Swagger finished 3rd earning $47,875. Lights Out collected $49,770 in 4th place. Overall, the total payouts for Operation Sailfish exceeded $496,000! Proceeds from the event will also be delivered directly to it’s charity, Operation Homefront, a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to providing emergency financial assistance to the families of our service members and wounded warriors.
Teams were not the only ones battling in the tournament. Several boat manufacturers were hoping for a win in the Boat Builders Throwdown. It was a tight race at the end but SeaVee boats showed what they were made of. They finished with 64 points, 2 points ahead of Viking, to win the perpetual trophy and bragging rights for the next year. The bronze trophy, sponsored by John Townsend, will remain on display at the SeaVee factory until the 2013 event.
The competition isn’t over for the majority of the teams in Operation Sailfish. Leg 2 of the Quest for the Crest, the Sailfish Challenge, takes place on February 7-10 in Ft Lauderdale. Who will move one step closer to becoming the first team to put on the burgundy jacket? The Quest continues on Feb 7th.
Number of boats: 37
Total number of releases: 400
Advanced Roofing 23 releases
Liquid Skillstorm 21 releases
Swagger 21 releases
Lights Out 20 releases
Absolut Joy 18 releases
Miss Annie 16 releases
Weez in The Keys 15 releases
Double Diamond 15 releases
Good Call 15 releases
BAR South 15 releases
Master Angler: Daniel Hassan, Swagger, 9 releases
Top Female: Susan McCart, Absolut Joy, 7 releases
Heaviest Fish: 45.8 Cobia, Silent Hunter
Boat Builders Throwdown: SeaVee Boats – 64 points