Team ViceVersa wins 2nd Annual Marathon Premier Sailfish Tournament

Published On: May 2nd, 2023Last Updated: May 2nd, 2023Categories: Announcements, Charitable Events, Tournament Events8 min read

The second annual Marathon Premier Sailfish Tournament kicked off at Fairfield Inn on April 20th, 2023. Each of the 14 registered teams showed up to pick up their tournament buckets filled to the brim with promotional items, drink tickets, and wristbands for the banquet. Each team was provided with a Gray Taxidermy tagging kit, neck gaiters, and hooded fishing shirts in their respective sizes. Excitement was in the air, there would be 83 anglers this year, and the weather starkly contrasted from the prior year. This time around, the sun was shining, and last year’s thirty-mile-per-hour gusts were replaced with a light ten-mile-per-hour breeze.

While last year the rough sea conditions were a worry this year, the question everyone was asking themselves was: was it too calm? Would they be able to fly kites? Would the sailfish even bite on a slicker of a day?

Teams gather at the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Marathon, Florida, on Thursday, April 20, 2023, to collect promotional items and attend the reading of the rules.

On April 21st, 2023, the committee boat was set up outdoors in the sunshine to get the best radio reception. The committee consisted of Katie Lewis, the founder of the tournament, Dianne Harbaugh on the radio, Michael Rodriguez on live scoring, and Nicholas Yeager on website/tech and social media. Temperatures were in the mid-seventies with a light eight-mile-per-hour wind and quickly warming up as the morning sun rose.

At 8 am Dianne announced lines and wished everyone luck, and the second annual Marathon Premier Sailfish Tournament was officially underway. Three minutes later, team No Slack with Captain James “Bucko” Platt at the helm, called in a hookup. Captain Ariel Medero of team Big Game called in a hook-up one minute later. Big Game angler Robert “Reggie” Hiro released his sailfish at 8:08 am just as they hooked another sailfish. Four minutes later, Captain Ariel released their Second sailfish on the day. Four minutes later No Slack called in a successful release. At 8:17 team Killbox also hooked up!

In the first 17 minutes of the Tournament, four sailfish had already been hooked. Tournament founder Katie Lewis let out a sigh of relief. Now Katie knew the calm weather wouldn’t shut down the bite entirely.

The teams pulled out all the stops to have the best chance of winning the grand prize. Some teams used giant helium balloons to assist in getting their kites aloft. At 8:43 am, Captain Marty Lewis aboard the Main One called in a hook-up. Shortly after the release went to angler Ben Zdan putting them in third place behind Big Game and No Slack. Half an hour later, Killbox called in their successful release with Junior Angler Corbin Buckley on the rod, putting him on the Junior Angler leaderboard.

Crew aboard the Main One attempt to tag an acrobatic sailfish.

By lunchtime, Team Big Game called in another hook-up and release. Robert “Reggie” Hiro was the angler, putting him at the top of the Male Angler leaderboard with two fish. Team Big Game had also tagged all three of their fish before release, putting them in 1st place in the most tagged category.

Then the sailfish bite slowed down. The committee boat joked that the sailfish were giving them a chance to eat their lunch. Katie was happy to see almost every category had a potential winner. Katie just needed a female to catch a fish, and all her beautiful trophies would find a home. Two hours later, at 2:07 pm, the silent hunter broke the silence! Captain Bj Meyer called in a double hook-up which was exciting for the committee boat. Angler Bill Blum was credited with the successful release a couple of minutes later. The second fish managed to escape, a stroke of bad luck.

Team Silent Hunter with Captain B.J. Meyer at the helm.

Captain Aerial called in another hook-up three minutes later, but they also lost that fish. ViceVersa called in a hook-up 7 minutes later, and they were able to convert with angler Tyler Rodriguez. Over the next half hour, Reel Attraction, Silent Hunter, and No Slack would release three more fish. Melissa Bennett from No Slack was the angler on the release putting her at the top of the female angler leaderboard. Katie Lewis was thrilled knowing she could hand out every trophy this year. Approximately 40 minutes later, team Vice Versa converted two releases on a double-hookup. Team Executive Decision’s Jill Paglia caught and released a fish putting her in second for top female angler. Twenty minutes later, Dianne called lines out at 4 pm, and day one of the tournament was officially complete.

Melissa Bennett fighting a sailfish aboard the No Slack.

Day Two

The weather on day two was similar to day one, and Dianne promptly called for lines-in over the radio at 8am. Eighteen minutes later, team Killbox’s Joe Marino caught the first sailfish of the day. Ten minutes later, Team Vice Versa called in a release.

Team ViceVersa on the prowl for a hungry sailfish.

The sailfish were being caught steadily but not at the pace of the day prior. By 9:15 am Jill Paglia caught her second sailfish aboard the Executive Decision putting her at the top of the female angler leaderboard. Just shy of an hour later, team Big Game tagged and released another Sailfish. Moments later, team Main Attraction-Sails Call’s Alexis Bowcock caught and released a sailfish. Alexis was last year’s Top Female Angler and is now in third place on the female angler leaderboard.

Team Main Attraction-Sails Call.

Not long after, Captain Marty Lewis, aboard the Main One, called in a release from angler Mark Busch. Around lunchtime, the bite slowed down as it did the previous day but Captain Alex Bell of team Blue Magic managed to put Trevor Cowieson on a Sailfish that he successfully released at 12:37pm.