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January 06, 2012

Wild Sailfish Bite in Southeast Florida

Boats fishing in the 75th Annual Silver Sailfish Derby catch and release an amazing 659 sailfish during the first day of the event | PHOTOS

They don't call it "Sailfish Alley" for nothing.

The Gulfstream waters along Florida's southeast coast were alive with Atlantic sails Thursday, Jan. 5, as 46 boats entered in the 75th Annual Silver Sailfish Derby caught and released an amazing 659 sailfish during the first day of the event, the oldest of its kind in the world.

The fleet's catch smashed the previous single-day record of 397 from 2006, and with two days of fishing left, the all-time record of 958 (also from 2006) will likely fall.

Chatter buzzed on the tournament's Facebook page. "It was wild," wrote the moderator. "There were 480 minutes in the fishing day......do the math, that's an average of 1.37 sails being reported per minute."

Team Get Lit, captained by Capt. Quinton Dieterle, was in first place with 36 releases, while Weez in the Keys, skippered by Capt. Ray Rosher, was in second place with 28 releases. Twenty-two boats caught at least 15 sails, with most teams running and fishing well north of tournament headquarters at Sailfish Marina.

Ironically, another 29 boats were fishing a separate tournament the same day held out of Fort Pierce, the Pelican Yacht Club's 32nd Annual Invitational Billfish Tournament. That fleet tallied 259 sailfish of their own, all on trolled dead ballyhoo.

While the combined fleets of both events didn't quite catch 1,000 fish for the day, 918 served as an amazing total. And expectations were high entering the second day of competition.



Here are the Day One results from the Silver Sailfish Derby:


Get Lit - 36
Weez in the Keys - 28
Emotional Rescue - 25
JiChi -24
Barefoot - 23
Sandman -23
El Palacio de los Jugos - 21
Double Diamond - 20
Trick or Treat - 20
Wishlist - 19
Certifiable - 18
Blue Hour - 17
Princess Lily - 17
Pro Payroll - 17
ADHD - 16
Finding Nino - 16
Lady Lane - 16
Reel Lucky - 16
Cumbanchero - 15
Miss Annie - 15
Hard Way - 15
Tales Gone Wild - 15
Team Murray - 14
Kwik Raze - 14
Reel Joy - 14
Goin' Raptor - 13
Cha Ching - 13
Encore - 13
Inlet Magic - 12
Committed - 12
Native Son - 12
Anita L - 11
Sore Subject - 11
Sandra T - 10
No Regrets - 10
Wicked Wahini - 10
Live Wire - 9
Sea Hunter - 8
Petunia - 8
Big Whoop - 7
MD 20/20 - 7
Fish Tale - 7
Enterprise - 6
Team Tuppen's - 3
Mr. Bradley - 2
Fula Sea - 1