Light Tackle Sailfish Tournament opens Friday

Capt. Mike Brady of Fort Pierce, skipper of Cowpoke

PORT SALERNO — At 58, it is the longest-running sporting event on the Treasure Coast. And considering recent fishing action, it’s fitting the area’s oldest event is a sailfish tournament.

The Stuart Sailfish Club’s 58th annual Light Tackle Sailfish Tournament swings into gear Thursday with registration and the kickoff party. New this year, the tournament has eliminated the lay day, or day off, for teams and will fish three straight days, Friday through Sunday.

Captains, anglers and crew hope to see red hot fishing action similar to last weekend although without the rough seas. In the 24th Pirates Cove Sailfish Classic, 27 boats combined to catch and release a tournament-record 374 sailfish in three days. Most anglers returned to area marinas with broad smiles despite a fair number of bruises. A few boats sustained damage including blown hatches, broken windows and a propeller bent on a dredge pipe in Manatee Pocket. Some captains reported over the weekend that with high seas, east winds and the outgoing tide, the shallow St. Lucie Inlet was so treacherous exiting to sea required them to time the sets of the waves, just like in years past.

Capt. Mike Brady of Fort Pierce has led team Cowpoke to two runner-up finishes in the season’s first two events and last year’s Light Tackle victory. The 23 sailfish over the weekend, owner Cruiser Crews of Avon Park, teammates Chester Chambers, Dave Meyer, Greg Jones and Christie Crews, and mates Taylor Beckford and Devin Silas lead the Treasure Coast Sailfish Championship. Brady looks for good fishing to continue.

“The fish are around and with this weather being nice, I think it’s going to be pretty good,” said Brady. “But with fishing you never know.”

A full moon Saturday has some concerned that fish may feed overnight and not during tournament hours. Brady is not as concerned.

“Sometimes we’ve had good fishing on the full moon, and it might be a little cloudy so that might help,” he said. “It might push some more fish down from the north to accumulate with the ones that are already here.”

Late registration for interested fishing teams will be open from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday. The Captains meeting and a separate Observers meeting will be at 5 p.m. For more information and to keep up with live real time scoring for the tournament visit www.stuartsailfishclub.com or call 772-286-9373.

EVENTS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

All events at Sailfish/Finest Kind Marina, 3565 S.E. St. Lucie Blvd., Stuart.

Thursday: Hawaiian Luau kickoff party from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets: $25. Cash bar.

Friday: Hot Havana Nights Cuban-themed party from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets: $25. Cash bar.

Saturday: Family Fun Day from Noon to 6 p.m. including a Kool Kids Fun Zone, local vendors, live music and a Chowder Cook-Off open to individuals for $10 entry or restaurants for $50 entry. Free. Call 772-286-9373 to enter chowder.

MARINE FORECAST

Friday: Northeast winds 10 to 15 knots. Seas 4 to 6 feet. Slight chance of showers.

Saturday: Northeast winds 10 to 15 knots increasing to 15 to 20 knots in the afternoon. Seas 4 to 6 feet. Isolated sprinkles.

Sunday: North winds 5 to 10 knots. Seas 3 to 4 feet. Isolated sprinkles.

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