Sailfish Challenge Produces A Record Breaking Bite!

February 2024

Contact: Chris Caravello
Phone: 954-725-4010
Email: Chris@bluewatermovements.com




It was a South Florida slugfest as 587 Atlantic Sailfish went head-to-head with a field of 60 elite sailfishing teams in the three-inlet challenge, all competing for a share of the $640,400 purse while raising $6,300 for The Billfish Foundation in Leg 2 of the Quest for The Crest Sailfish Series, Sailfish Challenge.


Alongside the substantial purse, a Billfish Foundation-sponsored satellite tag was also awarded in the name of the tournament champions, contributing to the foundation’s ongoing research efforts. As part of their victory, team Sandman has secured the opportunity to engage in and support TBF’s Tag and Release Program through a satellite tagging expedition led by TBF scientists. For more details about TBF’s tag and release program, please visit them online at Billfish.org.


This expedition will grant Sandman the privilege of having a satellite tag named after their team and collaborating with scientists in the tag’s deployment, enabling the tracking of the tag, gathering valuable data, and sharing insights with our fishing community and tournament anglers to advance the study and conservation of billfish. 


Stay tuned to our social media channels the week of March 17th as we set out to deploy last year’s Champion Satellite Tag with Remix and The Billfish Foundation. 




The 21st annual Sailfish Challenge commenced its week of events with the captains’ meeting on February 21st at Galuppi’s Restaurant & Sports Bar in Pompano Beach, highlighted by an electrifying live performance by Grunt Wagon, led by frontman and Sailfish Challenge featured artist RJ Boyle, who kept the crowd entertained throughout the night. Competing teams were treated to complimentary cocktails from Islamorada Brewery & Distillery, Papa’s Pilar, and Landshark Lager during dinner, mingling with tournament sponsors and vendors, including our new presenting sponsor of the series, Raymarine, as well as our:


  • Featured Trophy Artist, Eddie Forbes
  • Marine Hardware Sponsor, GEMLUX
  • New & Exclusive SeaKeeper Dealer, Land & Sea Professionals
  • New Technology & Communications Sponsor, Network Innovations
  • Charitable Partner of Sailfish Challenge, The Billfish Foundation




At Bluewater Movements HQ, anticipation reached a fever pitch in the days leading up to the Sailfish Challenge, as reports streamed in from teams far and wide. One standout report came from Jolene, captained by Drew Rhonehouse, boasting an impressive 61 for 80 during pre-fishing. As wind conditions were forecasted to shift from NW to SW for Day One, teams were left pondering whether the bite would remain strong throughout the weekend.




The action on Day One surpassed any previous Quest series tournament experience boasting a record-breaking 379 releases. The top 5 teams went blow for blow, accumulating points until the final moments of the day. Securing 1st place, the charter boat out of Sailfish Marina Fish On, captained by Andrew Dotterweich, surged ahead Friday afternoon with an impressive 16 releases, clinching the Day One Late Bite title, as well as 1st place in both the Tier One and Tier Two Daily Calcuttas, earning a total of $56,485. In 2nd place, Osh-it, led by Captain Jim Puller, maintained a steady bite throughout the day, tallying 7 releases in the morning and 7 in the afternoon, securing 2nd place in both Tier One and Tier Two Daily Calcuttas, with a total prize of $25,515.


Wrapping up Day One, the 3rd, 4th, and 5th place teams saw clutch releases in the final minutes. Sandman, led by Captain John Dudas, Native Son, led by Captain Art Sapp, aboard their 39’ SeaVee outfitted with state-of-the-art electronics from Raymarine, and Catch 23, captained by Stetson Turney, all notched 14 releases each, finishing in their respective order based on the timing of their final release.


In the meatfish division, Caught Slippin, Captained by Eric Neidorf, reeled in a hefty 208.9-pound bag of kingfish on their 39’ Contender, securing 1st Place in the Dynamite Daily and a prize of $10,080. Following closely behind, Seapremacy, led by Captain Alex Burgess, landed 166.9 pounds of kingfish, earning them 2nd Place in the Dynamite Daily and a prize of $4,320.





Day One Leaderboard


1st – Fish On – 16 Points

2nd – Osh-it –  14 Points

3rd – Sandman – 14 Points

4th – Native Son – 14 Points

5th – Catch 23 – 14 Points


Tier One Daily – 50/30/20 Split


1st – Fish On – 16 Points – $10,125 Payout

2nd – Osh-it –  14 Points – $6,075 Payout

3rd – Sandman – 14 Points – $4,050 Payout


Tier Two Daily – 70/30 Split


1st – Fish On – 16 Points – $45,360 Payout

2nd – Osh-it –  14 Points – $19,440 Payout


Dynamite Daily – Meatfish 70/30 Split 


1st – Caught Slippin – Aggregate – 208.9 Points – $10,080 Payout

2nd – Seapremacy – Aggregate – 166.9 Points – $4,320 Payout


Day Two


With the bar set high from an exceptional Day One, Day Two kicked off with heightened excitement as teams geared up for lines-in at 8:00 AM. By lines-out, another 208 sailfish had been released, keeping the competition intense. Despite the slower pace compared to the previous day, the top 5 teams on Day Two maximized every opportunity. Leading the charge on Day Two, Miss Elizabeth III, led by Captain Eric Leech, surged ahead Saturday morning with 14 releases, securing 3rd place Overall, Day Two Early Bite, 3rd place in the Leaders Board Calcutta, and 1st Place in both the Tier One and Tier Two Daily Calcuttas, with winnings totaling $68,905. In 2nd place, Sandman, captained by John Dudas, made a remarkable finish by releasing 4 sailfish in the last 20 minutes of the day, tallying 12 total releases and clinching 2nd Place in both the Tier One and Tier Two Daily Calcuttas, with a prize of $25,515 for the day. 


Completing the lineup in 3rd, 4th, and 5th place with 8 releases each, Reel Lucky, led by Captain Tyler Poczatek and co-owner of series sponsor Clearshine Detailing, secured 3rd Place in the Tier One Daily Calcutta, earning $4,050. Fish On, led by Captain Andrew Dotterweich, managed to hook 5 bites in the afternoon, winning the Release Round-Up and adding $126,900 to their Day One winnings. They also claimed the Late Bite, 2nd Place Overall, and 2nd Place in the Leaders Board and The Big Easy Calcuttas, bringing their total earnings to $236,505. Meanwhile, while the majority of the fleet fished off of Palm Beach, Goombay Smash, captained by Nic Vidal, put on a show down in Miami aboard their Yamaha-powered 35’ Contender, seizing 1st place in the Semi-Pro Division and 2nd Place in the Small Boat Division, pocketing $4,000. Each team finished in their respective order based on the timing of their final release.


In the meatfish division, Slob City, led by Captain Carl Torresson, reeled in a 158.2lb bag of kingfish, securing 1st Place in the Dynamite Daily and a prize of $10,080. Following closely behind, Caught Slippin, led by Captain Eric Neidorf, landed 151.1lbs of kingfish aboard their 39’ Contender, earning 2nd Place in the Dynamite Daily and $4,320. Additionally, they claimed 1st Place in Overall Meatfish Aggregate, Heaviest King, The Grand Daddy Divisions, 1st Place in the Bigfish Bonanza Calcutta, and 1st, 2nd, and 3rd in the Big Three Calcutta, bringing their total earnings to $53,250, including their Day One winnings.





Day Two Leaderboard


1st – Miss Elizabeth III – 15 Points

2nd – Sandman –  12 Points

3rd – Reel Lucky – 8 Points

4th – Fish On – 8 Points

5th – Goombay Smash – 8 Points


Tier Two Daily – 50/30/20 Split


1st – Miss Elizabeth III – 15 Points – $10,125 Payout

2nd – Sandman –  12 Points – $6,075 Payout

3rd – Reel Lucky – 8 Points – $4,050 Payout


Tier Two Daily – 70/30 Split


1st – Miss Elizabeth III – 15 Points – $45,360 Payout

2nd – Sandman –  12 Points – $19,440 Payout


Dynamite Daily – Meatfish 70/30 Split

1st – Slob City – Aggregate – 158.2 Points – $10,080 Payout

2nd – Caught Slippin – Aggregate – 151.1 Points – $4,320 Payout




Overall Leaderboard


1st –  Sandman – 26 Points

2nd – Fish On –  24 Points

3rd – Miss Elizabeth III – 23 Points

4th – Native Son – 19 Points

5th – Liquidated – 18 Points


Highest Earnings


1st – Fish On – $236,505

2nd – Sandman – $199,125

3rd – Miss Elizabeth III – $68,905

4th – Caught Slippin – $53,250

5th – Osh-it – $25,515







After a two-year break, John Dudas and the Sandman crew, 2017 Series Champions, have returned to pursue the coveted Burgundy Jacket presented by PELAGIC, making a resounding comeback at the Sailfish Challenge. As Saturday evening approached, tournament committee members closely monitored the live-scoring page while preparing the docks at Sailfish Marina, Hillsboro Inlet, and Miami Beach Marina for the teams to submit their media. Among them, Sandman trailed Fish On by 2 points and Miss Elizabeth III by 1 point, holding third place. Then, in the final 20 minutes of the day, Sandra MacMillan of Sandman, recognized as the Master Angler and Top Lady Angler of Sailfish Challenge, released the first of the team’s four final releases. A call over the committee radio echoed, “Don’t count out John Dudas,” and without a doubt, Sandman surged to the top of the leaderboard with three more releases in a thrilling photo finish.


Congratulations to Sandman, the title of 2024 Sailfish Challenge Champions is now yours to hold forever! 




Quest Series Standing Through Leg 2

1st – Fish On – 58 Points 

2nd – Liquidated – 57 Points

3rd – Odyssey – 50 Points

4th – Trophy Wife – 50 Points

5th – Off Course – 42 Points

6th – Native Son – 42 Points

7th – FFMD – 35 Points




The Grand Finale: Final Sail


The 11th installment of Final Sail, the thrilling culmination of the Quest for the Crest Sailfish Series, is set to make waves in Miami’s historic Coconut Grove April 10-13, 2024. Hosted by Courtyard by Marriott in Coconut Grove, Shake-A-Leg Marina, Bayshore Club, Miami Beach Marina, and Grove Harbor Marina, this year’s event promises to be nothing short of historic with its added $100,000 Guarantee powered by Raymarine and Yamaha.


With a world title at stake, teams from far and wide are gearing up to etch their names in the annals of billfishing history. Miami, known for its vibrant sailfish season, is the perfect backdrop for the grand finale of the series.


Call us in the office at 954-725-4010 or visit fish.bluewatermovements.com to register your team today. Early Entry is $1,200 per boat, and Late Entry after March 27th is $1,700 per boat. 




This iconic series hosts some of the top billfishing teams in the sport. Teams in this 3-leg series are expected to compete for an estimated purse of over $1.8 million. However, the most coveted award – The Crest – doesn’t come in the form of a cash prize. The Crest represents the pinnacle of tournament sailfishing. It is viewed as the highest accolade bestowed upon a team.  Presented in jacket form, competitors must emerge as the most dominant among an elite field in order to don the burgundy jacket. Privilege is earned, not given, on this quest to crown a world champion.




Bluewater Movements, Inc., is a sports marketing company based in South Florida, the sport fishing capital of the world. Throughout the past 28 years, our team has developed some of the most successful competitive fishing events in the industry. Our background in tournament fishing, coupled with our expertise in event marketing, has enabled a premium experience for tournament anglers and sponsors. Within our portfolio, there are seven wildly popular fishing tournaments, all hosted at various venues across South Florida.

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