Fly fishing rod

Stuart Sailboat Tournament Season Schedule. Will the billfish be there?

In January 1938, two events coincided, one natural and the other of human origin. Following this intersection, the Treasure Coast was never seen the same way again.

The natural event was the annual southerly migration of the sailboat. Each year, countless numbers of sailboats swim south from the Outer Banks of the Carolinas, where many spend the summer to the warmer waters off the Florida Keys and the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula.

The man-made event was created by Ernie Lyons, longtime editor of The Stuart News. Working in conjunction with Bob Bell and the predecessor of the Martin County Chamber of Commerce, Lyon has hosted around 10 outside newspaper columnists across the country. He arranged for them to go offshore fishing aboard charter fishing boats based in Stuart, many of which are operated by the Whiticar family.

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Spring sailboat off Stuart, Florida, the sailboat capital of the world.  He was captured and released on April 26, 2021 aboard DayMaker charters with Captain Pat Price.

Stuart: Sailboat capital of the world

Part of what happened was serendipity, part of a clever skill. Stuart’s fishing captains were all as good at their craft as the writers were at theirs.

The sailboats that week were as thick as anyone could imagine. Along the western edge of the Gulf Stream current, apparently the entire Atlantic Ocean sailboat population paddled south along the surface. Captains only had to drag their split-tailed mules close to the body of a fish and instantly their fishermen were hooked to a leaping, acrobatic, graceful, and swift sailboat.

“You might as well call this place Stuart: The Sailboat Capital,” a Miami Herald writer wrote in his column.

Lyons took about two seconds to jump on it. Later that same year, with the help of Bell, they applied for and received a charter dubbed Stuart “Sailing Capital of the World”.

Jason Kresser (left to right), Jeanann Paulus, Jim Paulus and Geoffrey Smith attempt to secure the 18ft, 3,000 pound sailboat sculpture at the center of Sailfish Circle in September 2003, the new downtown roundabout in Stuart.  The statue was designed by Smith of Stuart.  Kresser de Tequesta was an apprentice to Smith during the summer and the Paulus are from the Eagle Bronze Foundry and Gallery in Wyoming.

Sailing Tournaments in Florida

Every winter, fishermen, captains and crews gather in the marinas of Stuart and Fort Pierce for the express purpose of competing in tournaments to see which teams can catch and release the most sailboats in a day, weekend or week. week.

It is an expensive sport, as fishermen and boat owners pay the salaries of their captains and crews, buy fuel, pay dockage, buy fresh bait and tackle, and then have to feed anyone who comes in. ‘event.

The adrenaline of a day of good deed sailing is the drug of these fishermen. Anglers who enjoy participating in these events share the excitement when a school of chattering sailboats swims through the bait spread. Having one, two, three or four rods bent with a sailboat on the other end provides one of the most exciting, fast and thrilling actions in the whole sport of fishing.

Of course, slow days are, for lack of a better term, less fun.

Fly Zone Fishing joins the swordfish tournament

As is often the case, longtime fans of the Treasure Coast sailing tournament season will see new tweaks amid the tried and true aspects of events.

The Stuart Sailfish Club Light Tackle Sailfish Tournament is entering its 68th year and is the longest running sporting event in this part of Florida.

This year, the club management hired the services of famous businessman and fishing personality Robert “Fly” Navarro and his marketing company, Fly Zone Fishing, to help stimulate participation and be the tournament director. .

“I’m really excited to be in the tournament this year. The guys I spoke with can’t wait to fish in this tournament,” Navarro told TCPalm.

The tournament, the third in the Treasure Coast four-event season, runs December 9-11.

Navarro’s first task is to try and recruit new competitors for the event, which has seen registrations drop from over 50 boats in the late 1990s to around 10 in recent years.

“I’m not sure what drove the numbers down, so I don’t want to change too much. However, we have expanded boat entrances and exits to include Fort Pierce, St. Lucia, Jupiter and Palm Coves. from the beach, ”he said.

The range and speed of the boats was one reason, but the convenience for fishing crews was another.

Fishing days have been reduced to two – a Friday and a Saturday – to accommodate fishermen who have jobs they cannot leave. There is also a semi-professional division for anglers who do not run a professional program but would like to enjoy the tournament atmosphere.

Proceeds from the Light Tackle tournament will be shared to benefit Project LIFT, an organization that helps at-risk youth in Martin County, and the family of the late Captain Patrick Price, former event winner and famous charter boat skipper. local. died of COVID-19 on September 6, 2021.

Below is the schedule and links for four different sailing tournaments this season:

Sailboat tournament schedules

Top 10 total catches of sailboats in the area

  • 969: 2019 Pelican Yacht Club Billfish Invitational, 30 boats
  • 736: 2012 Pelican Yacht Club Billfish Invitational, 29 boats
  • 538: 1997 Stuart Sailfish Club Light Tackle Tournament, 45 boats
  • 408: 2010 Pelican Yacht Club Billfish Invitational, 29 boats
  • 386: 2004 Pelican Yacht Club Billfish Invitational, 52 boats
  • 377: 2011 Pelican Yacht Club Billfish Invitational, 30 boats
  • 377: 2011 Pirates Cove Resort Sailfish Classic, 27 boats
  • 373: 2018 Pelican Yacht Club Billfish Invitational, 25 boats
  • 348: 2009 Stuart Sailfish Club Light Tackle Tournament, 21 boats
  • 343: 2017 Pelican Yacht Club Billfish Invitational, 23 boats

Ed Killer is the outside writer for TCPalm. Sign up for his newsletters and other weeklies at Friend Ed on Facebook to Ed Killer, follow him on Twitter @tcpalmekiller or send him an e-mail at[email protected].