Sailfish kickoff off with a bang!

Midnight Blue

Sailfish Season Kicks Off with a Bang

December 14, 2008 – Coconut Grove, Florida - With all the economic turmoil in the world today, it seems that competing in a fishing tournament would be the last thing on people’s minds.  This theory proved wrong as 54 teams and over 300 anglers from across the country came to Miami and competed for over $150,000 in cash prizes in the fifth annual Florida Yachts International Sailfish Kickoff. 

The Kickoff has become the de-facto kickoff to the South Florida sailfish season. Teams knock the rust off their crews and get ready for several months of red hot sailfish action.  The Kickoff give a chance for all teams to compete with separate categories for outboards, inboard and amateurs.  The tournament committee feels that this is a way to spread out the winnings to a broader group of teams.  “The anglers have asked for more divisions and we delivered,” explains Tony Albelo the tournament’s director. “We have 46 different categories in which teams can win cash prizes.”  And when you are talking about $150,000 that makes for some great single prizes.

The captain’s party has become a tradition in the fishing world.  It’s a place to be seen. This year’s open bar was hosted by Ron Atlantico, a premium aged rum from the Dominican Republic.  This new company was surprised by the anglers though.  “They told me that this was a rum crowd,” commented Aleco Azqueta, one of Atlantico’s owners.  “When the bar ran out of rum on the first night, I knew this was not a joke.”  The team from Atlantico reacted quickly and replenished the bar and a catastrophe was avoided. 

The first day of fishing was brisk.  All the teams reported fish with a majority being caught right off Key Biscayne.  Over 150 fish were released on Saturday by the fleet.  The top team was was Priceless with 10 releases, closesly followed by Midnight Blue with 9, Native Son with 8, and Bi Polar also with 8 releases.  On the amateur side Mar Azul led the field with 4 releases.

The second day was a little slower with 100 releases, but the top teams still battled back and forth.  Teams traded places constantly with fish being caught all day.  Midnight Blue came from behind and took over first place with 15 releases and first place in the Inboard Division. They won over $40,000. High Standards also came from behind and overtook Native Son with a total of 15 release and won the Outboard Division which was good for $15,000.  Mar Azul never gave up the lead in the Amateur Division and padded their lead with a total of 10 releases which paid $4000. 

The Sailfish Kickoff is the first half of the Atlantico Billfish Championship which concludes with the Mayor’s Cup in January.  For complete results and more information on the series visit




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