Last year, 70 teams competed in this two-day tournament with hopes of cashing in large checks and moving one step closer to the coveted burgundy jacket. Teams have plenty of hot spots to choose from in the Sailfish Challenge with a boundary that stretches from Jupiter Inlet down to Fowey Light. A unique check-in format also gives teams the opportunity to maximize fishing time and turn their releases cards into one of three inlets at the conclusion of each fishing day. Check-in locations are Sailfish Marina inside Lake Worth Inlet, Hillsboro Inlet Park in Pompano Beach and Miami Beach Marina inside Government Cut. Top Team honors in last year’s tournament came from the 305. Jichi put on a clinic over two days of fishing with 18 releases and a first place check worth $163,460.
One category, the Release Round Up, is approaching a $150,000 payout at the Sailfish Challenge. The prize money in the Round Up has rolled over from last season through the first half of the series. There are four rounds of fishing in the Release Round Up, spread evenly over the two-day competition. A random number between one and six is drawn at the start of each round and represents the minimum number of sailfish a team must release during that round in order to advance to the next. Once a number is drawn, it cannot be used again. Jichi pulled through each round of fishing last year but did not buy into the calcutta and missed out on an additional $61,000 payout.
Another highlight of the Sailfish Challenge is the Non-Pro Division. Teams that qualify as Non-Pro will compete for extra cash against other Non-Pro teams in the tournament while still remaining eligible for all other prize categories in the tournament.
Although sailfish are the target species, hefty payouts at the Sailfish Challenge don’t just come by way of sailfish! The Big Fish Bonanza optional category pays out for the heaviest meatfish brought to the scales. Last year, Wishlist took home over $16,000 in winnings for a stout 52.1-lb kingfish that turned out to be the heaviest fish of the tournament.
Early registration for the Sailfish Challenge is $842 and ends February 1st. After February 1st the entry fee is $1,584. Final registration for the Sailfish Challenge is February 22nd at the kickoff party, where you can come by boat to the host location at Bokamper’s Sports Bar & Grill in Fort Lauderdale. Competition days are Friday, February 24th and Saturday, February 25th. The awards ceremony follows on Sunday, February 26st and will once again be held at Blue Moon Fish Company, where the top team of the tournament will be served a delicious VIP meal fit for a king. For more information on the Sailfish Challenge, visit www.sailfishchallenge.com or call (954) 725-4010.
The grand finale of the Quest for the Crest, Final Sail, takes place April 25th – 30th in sunny Key West, FL at the Margaritaville Resort & Marina where a world champion will be crowned. For current series standings, visit http://www.bluewatermovements.com/quest_for_the_crest_point_standings/