The 2019 Quest for the Crest Sailfish Series kicked off the first leg — Operation Sailfish — with Operation Homefront, the tournament’s conjunctive charity, hosting its annual Take a Hero Fishing Day, where the teams had an opportunity to honor the United States military with a day of fun fishing.
Twenty teams hosted 40 veteran and active-duty military members in Palm Beach, Florida, for prizes that included the Top Angler award, won by David Fritz who released three sailfish aboard Sandman to help earn his team top honors with a total of seven sailfish releases and Heaviest Fish, won by Louie Aversano aboard Native Son with his 22.3-pound dolphin. Fritz also was awarded a trophy and a weekend vacation package to Margaritaville Beach Resort in Hollywood, Florida, for his efforts.
Day One of the Quest competition found the majority of the fleet fishing north of Jupiter, Florida, and it was there that Old No. 7 released five sails before noon. However, it wasn’t long before the boys on Bar South edged in front, releasing eight sails to win the daily.
MDALA came out of the gate screaming on Day Two, releasing six fish before noon. And as the afternoon drew closer to lines out, the leaderboard showed multiple boats within striking distance of the win. In a head-to-head, fish-for-fish battle, the SeaVee Utopia and Viking Yacht MDALA fought it out until the finish, when a sailfish bite in the last 10 minutes of the duel put the team aboard Utopia on top with a total of 14 releases for the win. MDALA escaped with the daily for Day Two and ultimately took home the most prize money, finishing a respectable second place in the tournament with 13 releases.
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Team Kluch/Reel Easy placed third by landing all four of an end-day quadruple to give them a 12-fish finish, and BAR South owner Rob Gothier was named master angler.