Outdoors: Miller Time’s three Sunday sailfish lift team to Sailfish point win

SAILFISH POINT — As it pulled into the marina, the winning team of the Sailfish Point Yacht Club Invitational Sailfish Tournament celebrated in style with “red and white smoothies.”

It may have been a small irony that the crew of Miller Time chose to celebrate its successful Sunday with a few ice cold Budweisers. But it was no irony that they pulled out the win after catching and releasing three sailfish on the day, including two on trolled ballyhoo.

Miller Time finished the event with five sailfish releases, four on dead bait, for 900 total points. Runner-up 2 Dream 4 wound up with more sailfish — seven — but all were on live bait for 700 points. The tournament awarded 200 points for sailfish caught on dead bait and 100 for those caught on live bait since there is generally more angling skill required when fishing for sails with dead bait.

A fleet of 11 teams fished the 30th annual event that enabled teams to fish two of three days. Four teams fished Sunday combining for eight sailfish catches giving the event a combined total catch of just 25 sailfish. Six of Sunday’s fish were caught on live bait and two on dead bait.

Trailing tournament leader 2 Dream 4 by 300 points when Sunday’s fishing began, Miller Time owners Rob and Patti Miller of Palm City, teammate angler Brian Schwan, Capt. Brandon Walton, and crewmen Jason Peer and J.J. Davidson knew they could pull ahead if they could convince two sailfish to take two trolled ballyhoo. Trouble was, the sailfish bite hasn’t exactly been what it was two weeks ago when boats were enjoying 20 to 25 bites a day.

“We started out at the wrecks in 180 feet and caught a dolphin along a nice weed line, but didn’t see any sailfish,” said Miller, who owns the Jarrett Bay 42 Express. “We moved inshore to the Rankin where Brian had the first sail (at 9:55 a.m.). But when he hooked up, we got swarmed by all the other boats that were in there and had to move.”

Heavy boat traffic on a Sunday with nice weather proved to be one of the team’s biggest obstacles, Walton said. After moving to 50 feet at the Junk Hole, Schwan hooked the team’s second and lead-taking fish, however, they nearly lost it on two boats nearby that seemingly failed to yield despite their requests.

“The fish came up jumping near an FWC patrol boat that finally saw how close we were and moved,” Walton said. “But a couple on a cruising boat nearby watched without moving at all despite not being at anchor as we nearly backed into them trying to get our release.”

Miller Time did get the fish at 10:58 a.m. and took the lead on 2 Dream 4, which was idle Sunday. Since teams fished two of the event’s three days, Capt. John Simes and anglers Frank Taube and Mike Hennings had built the team’s lead by winning the daily awards Friday and Saturday.

Sunday, Christina led by Capt. Dave Chasmar with anglers Don Campgna, John Adamiak and Ted Blount also had three sailfish, all caught on live bait. Idall Time with Capt. Cooper Brandt and anglers David Dall, Ed Dawson and Joe Eaton caught two sails on live bait.

After catching the go-ahead sailfish, Miller Time decided to shift gears and try to catch their first fish of the tournament on live bait. It took a while, but finally at 1:54 p.m. a sail hit a live blue runner there at the Junk Hole which was reeled in by Patti Miller.

Although it seemed like just an add-on to the great weekend, it wound up winning the Top Lady Angler Award for her. Schwan caught six sailfish to win the Top Angler Award. Johnny Stukel, 15, of Se Bueno was named the Top Junior Angler catching two sailfish.

With 400 points, third place boat went to Se Bueno with Capt. Boogie Warren, Stukel and angler Joe Oliveiros. Dennis Longstreet aboard Challenge weighed the heaviest dolphin at 12.02 pounds.

For the Millers, it was a perfect finish to their first sailfish tournament season on the Treasure Coast. The team held its own against the area’s top competition through all five of the area’s tournaments.

“We have a great team and had a great season this year,” said Patti Miller. “We met a lot of new friends and captains. It’s a nice community to be in. Fishing people are good people.”

SAILFISH POINT YACHT CLUB INVITATIONAL SAILFISH TOURNAMENT

Sunday’s catches

(Dead bait 200 points; live bait 100 points)

500 points: Miller Time, Capt. Brandon Walton

300: Christina, Capt. Dave Chasmar

200: Idall Time, Capt. Cooper Brandt

Totals: 8 sailfish (6 live bait, 2 dead bait), 11 boats, 4 fished

Results

1. 900: Miller Time, Capt. Brandon Walton

2. 700: 2 Dream 4, Capt. John Simes

3. 400: Se Bueno, Capt. Boogie Warren

4. 300: Christina, Capt. Dave Chasmar

5. 300: Alpha Won, Capt. Geoff Haramis

6. 200: Bad Habits, Capt. Wink Doerzbacher

7. 200: Idall Time, Capt. Cooper Brandt

Totals: 25 sailfish, 11 boats

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