Chronicles of a Sailfish Tournament

Fishing the 59th Annual Stuart Light Tackle Sailfish Tournament

release-flags.jpg
I had the opportunity to fish on Miller Time with my father, Capt. Glenn Cameron, during the recent Stuart Light Tackle Sailfish Tournament. The weather was beautiful, which unfortunately made for slow fishing. Apparently, when it is windy and cold, the water gets more oxygenated, which gets the sails fired up to start biting. This makes December through January a good time to fish for sails on the Treasure Coast of Florida. The following chronicles a typical tournament day.
night-dock.jpg
We arrive at the docks in the early morning.
capt-glenn.jpg
Meanwhile, Capt. Glenn leads us to where the fish are hiding.
miller-time-dredge.jpg
Once we are ready to start trolling, the mates set out the mullet dredges.
electric-downrigger.jpg
This is one of the mean electric downriggers that holds the dredges.
dredge-in-water.jpg
Once the dredge is in the water, it simulates a school of swimming mullet. This draws sailfish in close to the boat.
playing-sailfish.jpg
Throughout the day, anglers play the ballyhoo by dropping the bait back, and then reeling it back in over and over again. This simulates a fish that has broken away from its school.
stuar-sail-11.jpg
You can’t have a sailfishing gallery without a sailfish! I was in charge of videoing the releases, so I didn’t have my photo camera when the fish were around. I grabbed a couple of stock images for you to visualize what we were seeing on the water.
hooked-bird.jpg
Birds can become pesky, and sometimes they get hooked after diving on your bait.
free-bird.jpg
When this happens, the mate quickly dehooks the bird and lets it fly free.
daiwa-reel.jpg
Our reel of choice is the Daiwa Saltiga.
bait-well.jpg
The mates keep us stocked with lots of bait throughout the tournament.
sailfish_depth_finder.jpg
Sailfish have a unique air bladder, which makes a distinct mark on the bottom machine. You can see a sailfish being marked here on the left of the screen.
sail-12.jpg
When we hook a sail, the captain and angler work together to get it to the boat as quickly as possible. To count as a release, you have to get the knot that ties the leader to double its line through the first eye of the rod, or the mate needs to grab the leader.
sail-13.jpg
Sail close to the boat.
deep.jpg
It was an ideal day for cruising …
offshore-fixing.jpg
No matter how high the quality of the boat, things can go wrong when you're offshore. During the tournament, we had the misfortune of breaking a trim tab. But no worries, because Jason jumped right in and patched it up!
billfishing-boat.jpg
During a tournament, boats often fish side by side.
boat-trolling.jpg
Sometimes this can be troublesome, because boats can run over your line and break off your fish! Luckily, we are not in danger of that here.
dolphinfish.jpg
Dolphin find their way to the Treasure Coast during the winter months as well.
sail-14.jpg
We almost have him.
j-hook.jpg
At the end of the day, we head back to the marina.
day-dock.jpg
At the dock, boats fly flags that represent their releases for the day. Here, some fishermen mingle while the mates are away busily rigging bait for the next day.
heading-home.jpg
Another shot of us heading back to the marina.
fishing-flags.jpg
The tournament directors put on a good event. I will definitely be heading back.