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Unbelievable Sailfish Bite

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Twenty-seven Teams Catch & Release 585 Sails in Three Days.


"The fishing was spectacular," said Florida Fish for Life tournament director Fred Miller, "unlike anything I’ve seen in any tournament in recent memory!"

The Palm Beach Double Shot is the simultaneous running of the Florida Fish for Life Billfish Tournament, a cancer charity event in its seventh year, and one of Florida’s most famous events, the 47th Annual Buccaneer Cup Sailfish Release Tournament, a fund raising event for the Recreational Fishing Alliance for the past five years. It kicked off with a captain’s meeting and party at the Buccaneer Restaurant on Singer Island on Wednesday, January 20th.

"We thought the first day of fishing set the pace with an incredible 184 releases for 26 boats," said Buccaneer tournament director and well known fishing writer and photographer Gary Caputi, "but it was only a warm up for what was to come. The first day the ocean was snotty with strong south winds, but the fish were snapping toward the northern end of the tournament boundary at Ft. Pierce Inlet. Teams fishing live bait and trolling were calling in releases so fast our radio room based in Stewart was hard pressed to keep up with the pace, but did an outstanding job."

Day two, the weather turned to the west, the seas calmed a little and the bite only got more frenetic. The radio was abuzz with releases being called in and without the highly professional performance by the trained observers from the International Game Fish Tournament Observers, Inc. it could have become unmanageable. When the smoke cleared after lines out at 4 PM 240 more sailfish had been hooked, caught and released in accordance with tournament rules.

The Fish for Life, which is a two day event, ended on Friday with 424 releases tallied for 26 boats, an incredible accomplishment that highlighted how good the fishing and the teams entered really were. The winners of the event were FA-LA-ME with 7800 release points, SEA HAG with 7800 points and KRAZY SALTS with 7200 points. The first and second place point’s tie was broken by time of the last release, the two fish separated by a mere 5 minutes!

Saturday was the final day for the Buccaneer Cup, traditionally a three day event, with light east winds that picked up later in the day. The tournament had already experienced strong south and west winds and now it was 180 degrees in the other direction, but nothing stopped the fish from biting. The radio reports started the moment lines went in the water with the BONESHAKER team trolling up an amazing 14 fish by midday on the heels of 17 the day before. Team ORION was forced to leave their big Hatteras at the dock due to a minor technical difficulty and live bait from their 32’ SeaVee with incredible results. They released an amazing 21 tying the BONESHAKER lead due to the point’s differential (200 for live bait and 300 for dead bait releases). The tie breaker was the two hour difference in their last catch.

At the end of the day 161 sailfish releases were added to the first two day’s for a total of 585 releases, a record setting performance that placed the event above and beyond anything others held in the past few years or longer!

The winners of the 47th Annual Buccaneer Cup were the BONESHAKER with an incredible 11,400 release points; the FA-LA-ME with 10,800 points and KRAZY SALTS with 9,600 points.
The awards dinner was held at the exclusive Sailfish Club of Palm Beach where hosts Gary Caputi and Fred Miller presented trophies and cash prizes amid a jubilant atmosphere of friendship and camaraderie. The talk of the evening was a mix of conversations about the incredible fishing experienced by all the teams involved and the great time they had fishing these two extremely well run events. To read more, see tournament photos and look ahead toward next year’s events go to and For more on the observer program go to

Event Sponsors: Viking Yachts; Caterpillar Marine Power (Ransome, Pantropic Power & Gregory Poole); American Custom Yachts; Cummins Marine; HMY Yacht Sales; Miller Subaru; Ocean Yachts; Release Marine; Black Bart; Isle of Capri Resort Casino; Hi-Sea Fishing Line; American Fishing Wire; Floscan Instruments; Interlux Paint; Onan Generators; Canyon Gear International; Old Harbor Outfitters; Hatteras Press.


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