Shattering Records at Operation Sailfish

Largest fleet for second consecutive year
A sport-fishing team on the water.
Team Liquidated topped the standings at Operation Sailfish. Courtesy Bluewater Movements

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In 2023, the record for participation in the Operation Sailfish tournament was broken; this year it was shattered. During the 12th annual tournament, which is also the first leg of the prestigious Quest for the Crest Sailfish Series, 62 teams turned out at Stuart’s Sailfish Marina to battle for a cash purse of more than $632,000 and the prestigious champion’s dog tags, symbolic of the tournament’s connection with America’s veterans.

This year, 47 of those veterans fished with 19 teams on the Take a Hero Fishing Day, which is hosted in advance of the tournament and which also raises funds for Operation Homefront, a 501(c)(3) organization whose mission is to help build strong, stable and secure military families.

While the bite was relatively slow on Day One of the tournament, with 56 total releases, the top five teams were all fan favorites. Hometown heroes on Trophy Wife, led by Capt. Randy Yates, won the daily with seven sailfish releases, followed by the young guns from Pompano Beach on Skipjac with four releases on their 27-foot center-console.

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Day Two was another story, as the weather conditions lined up in favor of a better bite, with winds pushing out of the north at 10 to 20 knots. It was game on with 74 releases in the morning, with 18 of those early bites being traded among teams on Liquidated, Odyssey, Sir Reel, Badboyz and Fish On.

And while they had just a single late bite on Day One, Liquidated owner Patrick Wieland, Capt. Danny Clinton and the team made a powerful comeback on Day Two with seven additional sailfish, enough to push them into first place as Operation Sailfish champions with eight releases. Fish On landed in second place on time, also with eight releases, and Trophy Wife placed third overall with seven. Odyssey and Skipjac rounded out the fourth- and fifth-place spots with six releases each.

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