TOURNAMENT OF THE MONTH: February 2012
Sailfish Challenge 2012
|Tournament Dates:||February 23 – 26, 2012|
|Location:||Dania Beach, FL|
|Target species:||Sailfish, White Marlin and Blue Marlin (release)|
|Tournament Purse:||Over $225,000 Prize Schedule|
|Tournament Entry:||$736 per team Feb 14 and earlier (tax included) or $948 after (tax included)|
|Quick fact:||Tournament headquarters is the IGFA Museum and teams can fish from either of Hillsboro Inlet in Pompano Beach, Lake Worth Inlet in Palm Beach or Government Cut in Miami.|
|Scoring:||Points based on billfish release (sailfish, white marlin and blue marlin equal points) or weight for meat fish|
|2011 Champion:||Jason Jennings’ Midnight Blue with 9 releases in a single day tournament; 79 boats tallied 169 sailfish releases. Midnight blue took home $69,100.|
On one single day, at the northern end of Sailfish Alley, nearly 1,000 sailfish were caught and released by two tournament fleets. The action continued for about a week as an enormous body of migrating sailfish made its way south along Florida’s coastline.
Mercury Marine Presents Fishing Tournament: Sailfish Challenge 2012
Now comes the Sailfish Challenge Feb. 23-26, just in time to capitalize on the great sailfish action that can be had along the southern end of Sailfish Alley. In what is developing into perhaps the largest sailfish tournament in the United States, the Sailfish Challenge presented by Mercury Marine boasts an expected combined purse of $225,000.
The Sailfish Challenge 2012 is all about fun and fast action. Center consoles and big battle wagons alike will join in the fray as they head out to rack up as many sailfish as they can catch and release in a weekend. Kite fishing with lively live baits will be the norm. And if the action enjoyed by this group is on par with the anglers fishing the first two weeks of January, they can expect to be swarmed by wolfpacks of sailfish and able to record releases of double-headers, triples, quads and an occasional quintuple-header.
Let the Fishing Begin!
As of the first week of February, the mass of sailfish has moved on to bluer pastures such as the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. However, that doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of action and plenty of fun to be had by Challenge registrants. The affair will kick off in the hallowed halls of the International Game Fish Association Hall of Fame Museum. What could be a more perfect setting for the start of a hotly-contested fishing tournament featuring some of the best on-the-water talent in the country?
Three days of bow-to-bow fishing excitement will follow with teams recording their catches on video for verification by tournament officials.
Fishing Tournament Closing Ceremonies
Finally, the Blue Moon Fish Co. in Lauderdale by the Sea will host the awards presentation on the tournament’s final day and issue close to a quarter-million dollars in winnings to champion anglers.
The Sailfish Challenge presented by Mercury Marine will certainly be an event that if one is unable to compete in, he or she will definitely want to track online. Follow this year’s action live in real time on the event’s website at www.bluewatermovements.com
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- In The Bite Magazine for the Avid Fisherman