2023 Marathon Premier Sailfish Tournament Recap
The second annual Marathon Premier Sailfish Tournament concluded last week. There were a total of 14 boats, and 83 anglers signed up.
The Main Attraction fishing team had three boats signed up to fish. The Main One was booked by our longtime client Mark Busch. Mark booked Captain Marty Lewis to fish on the 49′ Sportfish a year in advance.
The Bowcock family also rebooked the tournament a year in advance and were fishing on the Main Attraction for the second year.
Our repeat client Steve Anderson and his brother and friends were fishing on Reel Attraction.
The Main Attraction II did not fish the tournament as it is being sold to our former employee to start his fishing charter business. The vessel will be renamed, but it will remain at our Marina, and we will continue booking it as an affiliate vessel.
Captain Marty, his son Alex, and other team members caught their goggle eyes, threadfin, pilchards, and herring, months in advance. They had them penned and well-fed to ensure the baits would be tough. Bait is a crucial factor in any tournament, especially a sailfish tournament.
The Main Attraction crew getting their hardened baits out of the cage the morning of the tournament
As the tournament neared, the weather report predicted little to no wind. Our crews prepped large helium balloons to help the kites stay high up in the air. The balloons are attached to fishing kites, which allows them to fly high enough to catch the wind. The kites keep the fishing lines out of the water far behind the boat to keep the bait swimming around the surface.
The Main Attraction crews used helium balloons to offset the lack of wind.
On the morning of April 21, 2023, the Main One, Main Attraction, and Reel Attraction left the dock at 6:30 am. The vessels were loaded with bait and occupied by hopeful teams vying for the Marathon title.
The Main One and Main Attraction vessels being prepped on the morning of the tournament.
Three minutes after lines in was announced at 8 am, the first sailfish hookup was called in. Three more hookups were called in, and by 8:47 am, Captain Marty was calling in a release aboard the Main One. The angler and mate, Ben Zdan, had successfully caught and released their team’s first sailfish, putting them in third place.
This year’s weather conditions were significantly different than last year’s, and with the calm waters, each boat spotted several free jumpers. In the afternoon, Captain Steve of Reel Attraction successfully had his angler, Steve Anderson, hooked up to a sailfish and fighting it off his bow. Approximately ten minutes later, a release was relayed by Captain Marty to put team Reel Attraction on the board. Main Attraction worked hard all day to raise a sailfish but instead caught a big blackfin tuna on the kites. As day one ended, two Main Attraction boats were on the board.
The Reel Attraction team looking for hungry sailfish.
Tournaments consist of long and tiring days. After lines out on the first day of fishing was 4pm, and by the time everyone returned to the marina, all they wanted to do was shower, eat, and sleep.
On day two, all parties met at the marina and headed out early, at 6:30 am. Each day the teams leave early to catch fresh ballyhoo and get into a position where they think the fish will be. On day two, Captain Marty called in another hookup, this time with Mark Busch on the rod. Within a few minutes, they had successfully released the fish.
Longtime client and friend of the Main Attraction Team, Mark Busch.
They also tried to tag the fish but were unsuccessful due to its acrobatic behavior. Tagging is a great way to help in research. All boats registered were provided with fish tagging kits complements of Gray Taxidermy. This allows the Gray Taxidermy research division to track and compile the data to track fish movements.
The Main One team attempting to tag a sailfish on release.
About mid-day, Captain Danny called in the Main Attraction hooked up. Shortly after, angler Alexis Bowcock successfully released a sailfish putting her in third place for lady angler. Alexis won the top lady angler trophy last year.
Last years top female angler Alexis Bowcock.
By the end of the day, Main Attraction co-owner and tournament founder Katie Lewis was glad the weather was beautiful, fish were caught, and she would be able to present trophies to winners in every category.
The awards banquet was held on the evening of April 22, 2013. The food was terrific, and there were fantastic raffle and silent auction items to win. Everyone had a good time, and Katie was able to raise money for a wonderful charity in Florida called Mission Fishin’.
Katie Lewis and her Daughter Natalie at the awards banquet.
The Marathon Premier Sailfish Tournament is open to the public and not exclusive to fishing professionals. If you are interested in fishing a sailfish tournament, this is a great one to get involved in. It is a lot of fun, and the proceeds go to a great cause. If you prefer not to fish, you can still partake in the festivities by purchasing a social ticket to the awards banquet. More information is available at MarathonSailfish.com.
The winners of the tournament this year team ViceVersa.