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Capt. Art Sapp Report- South Tide Sailfish

December 27, 2012

Typically, if a fisherman in South Florida was looking to catch sailfish, they would look for clean blue water moving north up the coast in a depth ranging from 100 to 200 feet.  Leading up to the inaugural Operation Sailfish Tournament all reports had green water moving south from Fort Pierce inlet to Hillsboro inlet all the way out to 300 feet.  This is the entire tournament boundary basically. 

Now some of the best tournament teams in the world were there to compete, so I was certain that someone would put together a good catch.  The first morning finally comes and of course it’s raining. Little did I know, the rain was going to be more than just a nuisance while loading bait and gear.  I decided to run south to Delray in hopes of finding some fish on some natural bottom.  Not long after lines in the releases started rolling in over the radio and all we had seen at that point was a small shark.  I received a phone call from a friend who was fun fishing just ten miles south of me that had a couple sails up already.  So off we went to see if we could get in on that action.  During the next two hours we managed 7 of 9 sails and were doing well in the tournament.  That is until the rain hit.  It probably would have been fine if not for the loss of the wind.  It was crazy; the wind went from a steady 20 knots to 0.  We struggled to present baits at all, much less well.  After an hour of bad conditions and being forced to listen to other competitors releasing fish, I couldn’t take it anymore.  We had to make a 45 mile run back to the north.  Now that wouldn’t have been so bad had the wind stayed down.  Of course it did not, and the waves used every bit of the wind to create a perfectly aggravating slop chop.  I probably shouldn’t complain as it only took an hour, thanks to our quad Verado powered 39 SeaVee.  None the less, that was a painful hour to lose.  We managed to release 4 more sails to land us in third place for the day.  Right were we wanted to be. 

Day two started far more comfortably, no rain.  The goal was simple and obvious.  Despite the loss of one of our key members we needed to be as close to perfect as possible.  Once again, we set up in one area only to have to make a quick adjustment, this time to the north.  The hope for perfection ended fast as we missed our first shot.  Shortly thereafter we got it rolling with a double header. The odd thing about this day was the consistency at which we were cursing at the number of mahi that were eating our baits. It is hard to believe that that could ever be a problem, but in this case we wanted nothing to do with them.   As the day progressed we picked away at the sails to a tally of 9 for the day, even tying the lead boats.  With forty five minutes to go, the decision was made to make a move to the north to attempt to get away from the pack of boats in hopes of a multiple.  Somehow it worked, within seconds of stopping the boat we were tight with a double header.  Unfortunately, one fish pulled off and the second one took a little longer to catch than we would have liked. The last thirty minutes were full of hope and anticipation that never turned into a sailfish. 

Two days and 21 fish later we ended up with some great memories and a second place finish.  Not quite as good as last week, but certainly acceptable.


Capt. Art Sapp

Native Son Sport Fishing

954 444 0820

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