Nov 28, 2014: The 2014 Captain of the Year Cup Contender Florida Division is still undecided. Last week Captain Wink Doerzbacher and the Showtime team battled rough seas and sswimming competition from the live bait teams to win the Palm Beach Sailfish Classic- trolling dead bait. The debate rages on in Florida which is the right amount for points for each discipline as talk drifted around the dock. Congratulations to Showtime! Unfortunately, due to the strong winds and rough seas the tournament only had eleven teams entered -just one shy of the twelve team minimum necessary to qualify for Captain of the Year Cup points.
Monday December 1st we slide into December and the next few weeks the Treasure Coast will host some of the top dead-bait sailfish teams in the world starting with the Fish Heads of Stuart Sailfish Invitational Dec 1-3, 2014. Followed by Pirates Cove Sailfish Classic Dec 4-7, Islamorada Sailfish Tournament Dec 4-7, Leg 1 Operation Sailfish Dec 10-14 and Stuart Light Tackle Dec 11-14, 2014.
Be sure to tune into InTheBite.com for complete coverage of the Sanctioned events.
In honor of Captain Bomboy Llanes catching his November grander out of Hawaii we feature the Huntress who had a great 2014 in the Hawaii Division.
The Winner’s Circle
#3 Ranked Hawaii Team 2014
Capt. Steve Epstein, Huntress
Home Port: Kona, Hawaii
Boat/Power: 42-foot Merritt/420hp Yanmars
2014 Wins: 1st Place World Cup, 1st Place Marlin Magic; 500 Total Pts.
Tackle: Shimano 130s on custom rods with Seeker blanks
Spooled Up: 130-pound Dacron and 400-yard topshots of IGFA Amilan 130-pound test
Capt. Steve Epstein’s had a great season on the Huntress, winning first place in the Marlin Magic tournament and then bringing the World Cup back to Kona. Both big marlin were caught with angler Stephanie Choate in the fighting chair.
In The Spread
“The lures are all locally handmade baits from a bunch of different guys, some that are 30 years or older that we haven’t broken off…yet. Marlin Magic, Scott Crampton, Coggins, Joe Yee, Kaita, Koya and Wes Leslie. The pattern during the Marlin Magic was three Koyas and one of Wes’ lures. The winning fish ate the short bait, a one-off experimental black Koya that we’ve caught a bunch of big fish on. The World Cup pattern was the same, this time the winning fish ate the Wes on the short rigger; again, another one-off experimental that has caught a lot of big fish for us. The black Koya had a double hook rig of Dozers, and Wes rigger bait had a single Bart 11/0 hook. The Koya also caught a 600-pounder three days later that we released for a regular charter.”
“Our everyday spread consists of four 130s with a smaller bait always on the long rigger like a jet, AP, bullet, or a real small straight runner. The winter months, we’ll have two smaller rigger baits for the stripeys and spearfish and leave the corners with larger straight runners. If we find the right situation—plenty of skipjacks on a ledge or a FAD and no crowd—then we’ll switch up to live bait. The only time we use dead bait is when we bait and switch, usually on ultra-light gear for records. We haven’t done much of that lately though.”
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