West Palm Beach – The venerable West Palm Beach Fishing Club (WPBFC) will host its 76th annual Silver Sailfish Derby January 10th through 12th, 2013, out of the Sailfish Marina on Singer Island (Captain’s meeting January 9th, 2013 at the WPBFC). The event is recognized as the ‘World’s Oldest Sailfish Tournament’. After last year’s event it could be recognized as the ‘Worlds Most Productive Sailfish Tournament‘ too. In that event, 46 boats caught and released an incredible 1,174 sailfish in three days. It was an angling feat that had never occurred anywhere in the world. Derby anglers are hoping for a repeat performance of that unprecedented catch.
This year’s tournament is expected to draw somewhere between 40 and 50 boats and approximately 200 anglers who will be vying for some of the most prestigious angling awards in competitive sailfishing. The Derby’s top angler award is the Mrs. Henry R. Rea trophy, a magnificent silver sailfish sculpture that dates back to the event’s origin in 1935. It is one of the most coveted awards in all of angling.
New this year are awards for the Top Lady Angler and the Top Small Boat (defined as boats 35′ and less according to the boat manufacturer LOA measurement without motors). Another new feature will be a virtual Silver Sailfish Derby scoreboard that will allow anyone with an Internet connection to follow the action as it unfolds. During the event the virtual scoreboard can be found on the WPBFC’s website at www.westpalmbeachfishingclub.org. The Derby face book page continues to be another source of event information, updates, stats and photos, visit: www.facebook/silversailfishderby.
The Silver Sailfish Derby was established by the WPBFC during the Great Depression as a way to stimulate tourism and business in the Palm Beaches. At one time famous American author and avid big game angler Ernest Hemingway was a Derby trophy sponsor. While plenty of celebrities have participated in the event through the years, it is the Derby’s longstanding support of billfish conservation that has been its hallmark. The Derby set the stage for the catch and release ethic that is widely practiced by anglers today. It was among the first to promote catch and release fishing for sailfish. Perhaps the most notable conservation contribution attributable to the Derby is the development of the red release pennant. The WPBFC began flying the pennants in 1938. Today, the little red pennant is recognized around the world as a way to signify a sailfish release. The Derby was also among the first tournaments to incorporate gamefish tagging for scientific purposes into a competitive format. In recent years, the WPBFC has been committed to billfish conservation efforts by requiring the use of circle hooks, which reduces post-release mortality. The Eagle Claw L2004EL zero degree offset circle hook is the ‘Official Circle Hook’ of the Silver Sailfish Derby.
The early registration deadline for entry ends December 20th, 2012. The early entry fee is $975 per boat (if at least one angler is a WPBFC member) and $1,275 per boat for non-members. After December 20th the entry fee increases by $200 at each level. For additional information on the Silver Sailfish Derby contact the Fishing Club at (561) 832-6780 or register online at www.westpalmbeachfishingclub.org.
–– Source: Tom Twyford