The second leg of the Quest for the Crest series yielded good fishing and tight competition this year, with 193 sailfish released by the 64-boat fleet and a tournament record payout of $255,340.
The three-inlet format allowed boats to fish in a wider boundary, which worked well for several teams, including Weez in the Keys. They fished south toward their home waters off Miami and released six sailfish, enough to secure them first place on Day One and take home the dailies for a $62,235 opening payday. The team ultimately finished in second place overall and also won the charity jackpot, which supports ongoing relief efforts in the Bahamas, for a grand total of $130,995. Rounding out the top three was The Edge with eight sailfish releases. The Texas-based team had a surge on Day Two to bring home $29,720.
However, it was Native Son who hooked up to a last-minute doubleheader just shy of the 4 p.m. call for lines out on Saturday, which sent Capt. Art Sapp and his crew over the top to earn the title of 2021 Sailfish Challenge Champions. Their 13 releases won them $255,340, the highest earnings ever for a first-place team in the Sailfish Challenge. Sapp proved that it’s the captain rather than the boat that makes the difference in success on the water.
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On the first day, the team fished aboard their 39-foot SeaVee, and switched it up the following day to the owner’s larger sport-fisher due to the change in weather. The debate over which boat is better obviously comes down to personal preference, but Sapp and company showed that skill is what earns you a spot in the winner’s circle.