Big Oh surges to Light Tackle victory


While daily honors are great, when fishing big tournaments like the Sailfish Club’s Light Tackle Sailfish Tournament, it’s the last day that really matters.

Just ask Capt. Ronnie Fields and the crew aboard Big Oh, who came from behind Sunday to take Top Overall honors in the 58th annual event.

“This is our first Stuart win,” admitted Fields, who along with anglers Gray Ingram, Jimmy Fields, Skip Smith and Ben Horning brought seven of eight sails hooked to the boat, giving Big Oh a three day total of 21, edging past Outlaw by two fish. “I’m proud to say that because we compete against this group of captains from Stuart all the time, and they are a tough bunch.”

After leading throughout, Fields and Big Oh fell from first to third on the final day of action in last week’s Pirate’s Cove Sailfish Classic.

“We came from behind today,” Fields explained. “We started farther south than everybody else, off the Loran tower, and we only saw one fish that didn’t bite in the first couple of hours. We heard some fish being caught up around the 100 line, that’s just north of Stuart, so that’s where we went and got plugged into some fish for an hour or so while we were by ourselves and caught seven of them.”

The 21-boat fleet fishing the 2011 edition of the Light Tackle Tournament totaled 202 releases over three days of action which included heavy rains and very choppy conditions which made it tough for captains to read the conditions and their satellite imagery.

“We really like it when it’s cold and clear,” Fields laughed. “We look at satellite shots a lot, and the rain can really fog those up, making it tough to see what we want to see. Also, when you’re looking at water, when it’s cloudy and raining, it’s hard to tell what it looks like, and nobody likes fishing in the rain.”

Outlaw, with Capt. Neil Subin, started the day three releases ahead of Big Oh, but managed only two releases on the day, 19 for the tournament, for a second place finish. Rough-N-It took third with 17 total releases.

Tina Webb recorded four releases aboard Chasin Tail to earn Top Female Angler, while Sebastian Blackman won Top Male Angler with eight releases while aboard Rough-N-It.

Outlaw angler Ian Wichers walked away with Top Member Angler honors with six releases.

After their second consistent weekend of fishing, Capt. Fields and his crew have a slim four-release lead over Capt. Mike Brady on Cowpoke, who make their living fishing the Fort Pierce area, where the third leg of the championship, the Pelican Yacht Club Invitational Billfish tournament will be contested Jan. 3-7.

“I’m looking forward to a good Christmas and a chance to take it easy,” Fields added. “Then we are going to get back and get serious for the Pelican. We’ve done well every year we’ve been there and I really want to win it and the Treasure Coast Championship.”

STUART SAILFISH CLUB LIGHT TACKLE SAILFISH TOURNAMENT

SUNDAY’S TOP BOATS

8: J-Hook, Capt. Dewey Price

7: Big Oh, Capt. Ronnie Fields

6: Miller Time, Capt. Rob Miller

6: Cowpoke, Capt. Mike Brady

6: Double Dog, Capt. Jason Parker

(remainder of fleet caught 5 or less)

Sunday totals: 61 sailfish, 21 boats

STANDINGS

21: Big Oh, Captain Ronnie Fields

19: Outlaw, Capt. Neil Subin

17: Rough’n It, Capt. Ed Nicolace

16: Cowpoke, Capt. Mike Brady

14: Chasin Tail, Capt. Rob Valko

13: J Hook, Capt. Dewey Price

12: Double Dog, Capt. Jason Parker

11: Lo Que Sea, Capt. Glenn Cameron

10: Bone Shaker, Capt. Scott Fawcett

10: Challenge, Capt. Jim Hardee

10: Miller Time, Capt. Rob Miller

9: Gotham/Bandalero, Capt. Kevin Paul

7: Sea Hag, Capt. Joe Colabella

5: Fishin Machine, Capt. Doyle Hogan

5: Lisa K, Capt. Bobby Randolph

5: Intents, Capt. Don Mauldin

4: Blondie, Capt. Andy Kubiak

4: Playtime, Capt. Darrin Cobb

4: Sea Check, Capt. V.J. Bell

3: Big Easy, Capt. Michael Murray

3: Boomer, Capt. Scott Mantz

Totals: 201 sailfish, 21 boats, 3 days

TREASURE COAST SAILFISH CHAMPIONSHIP

STANDINGS

43: Big Oh, Capt. Ronnie Fields

39: Cowpoke, Capt. Mike Brady

33: Rough’n It, Capt. Ed Nicolace

31: Chasin Tail, Capt. Rob Valko

29: Bone Shaker, Capt. Scott Fawcett

23: J Hook, Capt. Dewey Price

20: Miller Time, Capt. Rob Miller

19 Sea Hag, Capt. Joe Colabella

13: Lisa K, Capt. Bobby Randolph

12: Playtime, Capt. Darrin Cobb

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