Anglers fishing in the 75th Annual Silver Sailfish Derby — the West Palm Beach Fishing Club sailfish release tournament begun in 1935 and billed as the World’s Oldest Sailfish Tournament — are making history this week.
On the first day of fishing Thursday, Derby anglers released 659 sails, shattering the one-day record of 397 releases set in 2006.
On the second day of fishing today, the 46-boat derby fleet made history again. By 1:59 p.m., they had racked up enough releases to break the three-day Derby record of 958 set in 2006.
By 3:22 p.m. today, the Derby anglers had released 1,000 sailfish. (Shasha Lickle of Palm Beach released the 1,000th sail.)
“It’s never been done in a three-day tournament,” said Tom Twyford, president of the West Palm Beach Fishing Club. “For Atlantic sailfish, this is uncharted territory.”
Conditions were excellent. A strong cold front that moved over South Florida Tuesday pushed sailfish to the waters off Palm Beach and Martin counties from points north.
On Thursday, the teams of anglers found sailfish leaping from the water and “tailing” in the waves as they moved south toward warmer water.
Coral Gables-based Get Lit led by captain Quinton Dieterle, finished as top boat Thursday and set a new one-day boat record, with with 36 releases. (Get Lit held the tournament’s previous one-day release record of 35 releases under former captain Ray Rosher.)
Scott Robins of Miami Beach, fishing on Weez in the Keys, was top angler Thursday with 13 releases. Three other anglers — Bill Danko on Get Lit, Peter Miller on Get Lit and Kitt Toomey on Get Lit — released a dozen sails each.
On average Thursday, a sailfish release was reported every 43.7 sections. (Are you listening, Tourist Development Council?)
All of which can be summed up in one word: Wow.
To check out the latest on this year’s Derby, go to the Silver Sailfish Derby’s Facebook site.
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