Big Oh’s 13 leads fleet to 115 sailfish in Pirates Cove Classic

PORT SALERNO — As he steered the sportfishing boat Big Oh into the rough waters of the Atlantic Ocean Friday morning, Capt. Ronnie Fields was greeted by 6-foot high seas and 15-knot northeasterly stiff winds.

And he was smiling.

By day’s end, Fields’ team of anglers and mates had piled up 13 sailfish releases to lead the 28-boat fleet fishing the 24th annual Pirates Cove Sailfish Classic. Many crews in the popular event returned to the Manatee Pocket happy as the fleet combined to catch 115 sailfish on the day. The total was identical to the opening day total of the 2010 Classic achieved by 30 boats.

Fields figured that the conditions lined up perfectly for him to try fishing a spot he calls “The Jupiter Rip.”

“The blue water rushes in and pushes up against a current edge,” he said. “When it’s like that, the fish stack along the edge.”

Fields said it was 160 to 170 feet of water. At first only a few boats found the area. Krazy Salts Capt. Keith Greenberg said his team was nearby and they caught 12 sailfish to stand second.

“We had a triple and a couple doubles,” Greenberg said. “It seemed if you got one bite, we had a good chance to get another.”

But with few bites for the boats fishing to the north of St. Lucie Inlet, and all the action reported from Jupiter, many boats left Fort Pierce and ran to join the fun. Other boats that wound up in double digits were Outlaw led by Capt. Neil Subin with 11 fish, and Wrenegade with Capt. Jimmy Garner with 10.

Big Oh’s bite ended with its 13th fish by 12:15 p.m. and then went cold when 15 to 20 boats showed up. Anglers aboard Big Oh are Page Robertson, Gray Ingram, Ben Horning and Watson Caviness. Krazy Salts consists of anglers David Anderson, Tom Craig, Luke Hickey and mates Mark McDevitt and Eric McDowell.

Rough seas are in the forecast Saturday and Sunday, which could lead to continued good fishing, or make it difficult for teams to stay on the fish. But most are optimistic.

“I think they’re going to keep biting and I think this is going to end up being a good tournament,” said Fields.

Greenberg does, too.

“Hopefully, we’ll find the same kind of conditions,” he said.

Big Oh also leads the 10 boats fishing in the Treasure Coast Sailfish Championship. Cowpoke with Capt. Mike Brady stands second with seven sailfish followed by Miller Time with Capt. Rob Miller with four. The Championship is a demanding series fished through the course of the Classic, the Light Tackle Sailfish Tournament and the Pelican Yacht Club Invitational Billfish Tournament.

The tournament fishes through Sunday. Teams will endure rough seas throughout the event, but it won’t be as uncomfortable as long as the fishing is good.

Tournament radio operator Beth Davis is posting catches on the tournament’s real-time scoring page found at www. piratescovesailfishclassic.com. New this year also is a download for a Pirates Cove Sailfish Classic iPhone app for scores, standings, schedule and more.

MARINE WEATHER

Small craft advisory in effect through Sunday evening

Saturday: Northeast winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas 5 to 7 feet.

Sunday: East winds 15 to 20 knots. Seas 6 to 9 feet.

PIRATES COVE SAILFISH CLASSIC

STANDINGS

FRIDAY CATCHES

13: Big Oh, Capt. Ronnie Fields

12: Krazy Salts, Capt. Keith Greenberg

11: Outlaw, Capt. Neil Subin

10: Wrenegade, Capt. Jimmy Garner

7: Cowpoke, Capt. Mike Brady

6: Della, Capt. Eddie Wheeler

5: Challenge, Capt. Jim Hardee

5: Lo Que Sea, Capt. Glenn Cameron

4: Gotham/Bandalero, Capt. Kevin Paul

4: Miller Time, Capt. Rob Miller

4: Carolina Mist, Capt. Tom Sharp

4: Boomer, Capt. Scott Mantz

4: Chasin Tail, Capt. Harvey Shiflet

3: Brier Patch, Capt. Karl Anderson

3: Bone Shaker, Capt. Scott Fawcett

3: Intents, Capt. Don Mauldin

3: Viking 66, Capt. Ryan Higgins/Robbie Moore

3: Rough’n It, Capt. Ed Nicolace

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

2: Sea Hag, Capt. Joe Colabella

1: Reel Grumpy, Capt. Ryan Sylvia

1: J Hook, Capt. Dewey Price

1: Big Whoop, Capt. Davenport West

1: Dirty Mines, Capt. Dave Graham

1: Playtime, Capt. Darrin Cobb

1: ZF Marine, Capt. Todd Anderson/Kip Edwards

Friday totals: 115 sailfish, 28 boats

TREASURE COAST SAILFISH CHAMPIONSHIP

STANDINGS

13: Big Oh, Capt. Ronnie Fields

7: Cowpoke, Capt. Mike Brady

4: Miller Time, Capt. Rob Miller

4: Chasin Tail, Capt. Rob Valko

3: Bone Shaker, Capt. Scott Fawcett

3: Rough’n It, Capt. Ed Nicolace

2: Sea Hag, Capt. Joe Colabella

1: J Hook, Capt. Dewey Price

1: Playtime, Capt. Darrin Cobb

0: Lisa K, Capt. Bobby Randolph

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