The Sailfish Kickoff, held in Miami, Florida, has a history of being one of the hottest tournaments on the sailfish scene. Since the event began, the Sailfish Kickoff has set numerous records. In 2004 the fleet released more than 400 sailfish in one day! And in 2007 participants released 100 sailfish in the first hour of fishing. But the sailfish didn’t get the memo for this year’s event which took place in December. While fishing was slow by Sailfish Kickoff standards, the sailfish still showed up and made for a competitive tournament.
The fishing started out slow for the 37-boat field for the 2011 tournament, with very few releases called in. The slow action had the fleet checking and re-checking their radios all day. The committee boat even resorted to radio checks ever 15 minutes to make sure there weren’t any electrical issues. Rock Star had some mechanical issues and couldn’t make the run to the south as they had planned so they limped out to Fowey Light and setup their typical spread.
Before they could even complain about the lack of mobility, Rock Star scored a quick double-header on the lines. Shortly thereafter they raised a triple and caught two of those fish. Around noon Rock Star had six releases and the rest of the fleet heard of their success. A few moments later, almost every boat in the tournament setup off of Fowey Light trying to catch Rock Star. By the end of the day Rock Star led the fleet with eight releases. Get Lit, Wound Up and amateur team No Problem had five releases each for the day and several boats were in the hunt with two or three releases of their own.
Everyone hoped Day Two would be better. Luckily the fishing picked up for the rest of the fleet and teams began calling in their sailfish releases. Rock Star, however, remained quiet. Every team in the tournament started to catch sails, inching closer to Rock Star. The biggest mover of the day was Midnight Blue who released eight. There were several lead changes in each division, making for some hot moments and some long lulls.
When the dust settled Midnight Blue ended up with first place in the big boat division with 10 releases and $10,000. Get Lit landed in second place with eight releases worth $33,255. Sea J took home third place worth $3,900.
In the small-boat division Rock Star caught one more for a total of nine releases and first place in their division. The victory earned them $58,155! Beep Beep finished in second to take home $2,000 and Double Diamond was third for $1,000. No Problem took home the Top Amateur Team award, which earned them an automatic bid into the 2012 Mayor’s Cup in January.
The teams’ points carry over into the 2012 Mayor’s Cup which takes place from January 26-29, 2012. The combined points from both events will crown the 2012 Billfish Championship Series winner. For more information check www.SailfishKickoff.com, www.MayorsCupTournament.com or www.OceanPromotions.com.