Light Tackle tournament fleet hits the water Friday

PORT SALERNO — Last weekend and last year, fishing for sailfish in waters off the Treasure Coast was pretty good. Tournament teams that target the species in catch-and-release events piled up record and near-record numbers.

The 58th annual Stuart Sailfish Club Light Tackle Sailfish Tournament opens Friday with more than 20 boats expected to compete. Included in the field are defending Light Tackle champion Cowpoke, led by Capt. Mike Brady of Fort Pierce; defending Treasure Coast Sailfish champions Bone Shaker, led by Capt. Scott Fawcett of Jensen Beach; and Finest Kind Quickie winner Chasin Tail, led by Capt. Rob Valko of Fort Pierce.

Fishing was great last weekend as 27 boats caught and released a tournament-record 374 sailfish in the 24th annual Pirates Cove Sailfish Classic. Many think that trend will continue although cloudy skies may make it difficult to get bites.

Teams will fish through Sunday. Fishing hours are 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Boats must return to the Manatee Pocket by 5 p.m. for scores to be official.

Tournament radio operator Bonnie Powell will upload real time scoring for the tournament on the club website at www.stuartsailfishclub.com.

EVENTS OPEN TO THE PUBLIC

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

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 5 to 10 knots. Seas 3 to 5 feet.

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

Sunday: Northeast winds 5 to 10 knots. Seas 3 to 5 feet.

LIGHT TACKLE SAILFISH TOURNAMENT

RECENT WINNERS

2010: Cowpoke, Capt. Mike Brady, 28 releases

2009: Outlaw, Capt. Neil Subin, 27

2008: Hotty Toddy, Capt. James Ewing, 12

2007: Bone Shaker, Capt. Scott Fawcett, 16

2006: Bone Shaker, Capt. Scott Fawcett, 11

RECENT LIGHT TACKLE CATCH TOTALS

2010: 295 sailfish, 17 boats

2009: 348 sailfish, 21 boats

2008: 99 sailfish, 20 boats

2007: 181 sailfish, 23 boats

2006: 111 sailfish, 30 boats

TREASURE COAST SAILFISH CHAMPIONSHIPSTANDINGS

(After 1 of 3 events)

23: Cowpoke, Capt. Mike Brady

22: Big Oh, Capt. Ronnie Fields

19: Bone Shaker, Capt. Scott Fawcett

17: Chasin Tail, Capt. Rob Valko

16: Rough’n It, Capt. Ed Nicolace

12: Sea Hag, Capt. Joe Colabella

11: J Hook, Capt. Dewey Price

10: Miller Time, Capt. Rob Miller

8: Playtime, Capt. Darrin Cobb

8: Lisa K, Capt. Bobby Randolph

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