The lure of a hot bite and a big purse awaits teams in the world’s largest sailfish tournament – The Sailfish Challenge. On February 7th, The Sailfish Challenge will take over the offshore waters in South Florida. In 2012, 72 boats rose to the challenge and 185 sailfish were released in the one-day, 3- inlet tournament. The first place team, SkipJac II, walked away with a whopping check for $118,450. This year the purse is expected to exceed $250,000!
The Sailfish Challenge is unlike others. This tournament gives anglers the option of to check out of one of three inlets: Government Cut in Miami Beach, Hillsboro Inlet in Pompano Beach, and Lake Worth Inlet in Palm Beach. The three-inlet format makes it easier for boats to reach their target fishing grounds with less running time. And teams can return to any one of the three inlets for check-in regardless of which inlet they check out of in the morning.
In addition to its merits as the largest running Sailfish tournament, the Challenge is also the 2nd stop in the highly publicized Quest for the Crest Sailfish Series. The pursuit of a $1,000,000 purse has attracted some of the best billfishing teams in the world to the series. However, the money isn’t the only motivation for these anglers. The most iconic achievement in competitive sailfishing- the Quest for the Crest Jacket- is also on the line. The team that comes out on top in this 3-leg series will wear the jacket with pride and be recognized as the most dominant team in competitive sailfishing. Advanced Roofing leads the Quest points race with 30 points heading into the Challenge. Team Liquid trails them by 1 point in 2nd place followed by Swagger in 3rd with 28 points. Complete standings are available at www.questforthecrest.com.
Anglers are not the only ones who walk away with prizes in the Challenge. For the third year in a row, the Sailfish Challenge will raise money for Reconstructing Lives– a 501(c)3 organization geared towards providing construction aid to distressed families inside the construction community in South Florida. “Through the funds generated in 2012, a pool chair lift was donated to a great man, Tommy Walton, who was injured in an electrical accident. Because of this chair lift, Tommy can now use water therapy as a part of his rehabilitation process every day,” said event coordinator, Jamie Bunn. To learn more about Reconstructing Lives and Tommy Walton’s story visit www.sailfishchallenge.com and click on the ‘Charity’ link.
Final registration for the Sailfish Challenge ends on Feb.7th at the kickoff party, which is hosted at the ever-famous International Game Fish Association in Ft. Lauderdale. Competition day is Saturday, February 9th and the awards ceremony follows on Sunday, February 10th at Blue Moon Fish Company. The early entry fee for the tournament is $795 (plus tax) per team through Jan. 29th and includes all anglers. Late entry after Jan. 29th is $995 (plus tax) per team. For more information on the tournament, visit www.sailfishchallenge.com or call (954) 725-4010. Also, if you have a family member or loved one within the construction industry who you would like to be considered for aid from Reconstructing Lives, contact the tournament office at (954) 725-4010 for specific instructions on how to submit your formal request for assistance.