Sailfish Derby to Celebrate 80th Anniversary
December 9, 2016 (images courtesy of West Palm Beach Fishing Club)The West Palm Beach Fishing Club’s (WPBFC) venerable Silver Sailfish Derby, headquartered out of the Sailfish Marina on Singer Island, will set sail January 4th through 7th, 2017. This will be the club’s 80th running of the prestigious event. Established in 1935, the Derby is recognized as ‘The World’s Oldest Sailfish Tournament’ and continues to attract some of the best sailfish anglers, captains and crews in the sport.
The tournament is expected to draw approximately 40 boats and 200 anglers who will be vying for some of sailfishing’s most coveted awards. Part of what makes the Derby so special are the traditions and the people behind them. Many Derby awards are sponsored by families who have been associated with the event for decades. The Derby’s top angler award is the Mrs. Henry R. Rea trophy, a magnificent silver sailfish sculpture that dates back to the event’s origin. Henry Rea was a WPBFC supporter and seasonal resident of Palm Beach who underwrote the spectacular trophy to honor his wife. The Rea Trophy remains one of the crown jewels in all of angling. The Top Lady Angler trophy is sponsored by the Hampp Family in memory of Rose Hampp, who won the honor in the 1957 Derby along with many other awards throughout her accomplished angling career. The Louis S. Boski award for Outstanding Angling Achievement honors the late Lou Boski, an active WPBFC member who set the Atlantic sailfish single day catch record of 83 releases in 1980. Other prizes include the Top Small Boat trophy, Top Tag Team, daily angler and daily boat awards, and overall boat and angler awards. A Junior Angler trophy has been added to this year’s event. To help commemorate the 80th anniversary milestone some of this year’s trophies are framed vintage posters from the 1956 Derby.
Those who are not fishing the event can follow tournament boat standings on the Derby’s mobile friendly virtual scoreboard. The Derby scoreboard will go live just prior to the event and can be found on the WPBFC official website.
Photo’s from the tournament are routinely posted on Instagram at #SilverSailfishDerby. Proceeds from the event benefit the WPBFC’s many conservation and education initiatives. For registration and additional details on the Silver Sailfish Derby contact the WPBFC at (561) 832-6780 or visit:
More Derby History….
The Silver Sailfish Derby was established by the WPBFC during the Great Depression as a way to stimulate tourism and business in the Palm Beaches. The event is recognized as the ‘World’s Oldest Sailfish Tournament’. The only years the Derby did not take place was 1943 to 1945 during the Second World War. In the late 1950’s famous American author and avid big game angler Ernest Hemingway was a Derby trophy sponsor. While plenty of celebrities have participated in the event through the years, it is the Derby’s longstanding support of billfish conservation that has been its hallmark. In the late 1930’s Derby organizers began promoting catch and release fishing for sailfish, a very new and radical concept for the day. This forward-thinking approach to offshore saltwater fishing set the stage for the catch and release ethic that is widely practiced by anglers today. Perhaps the most notable conservation contribution attributable to the Derby is the development of the red release pennant. The WPBFC began flying the pennants in 1938. Today, the little red pennant is recognized around the world as a way to signify a sailfish release. The Derby was also among the first tournaments to incorporate game fish tagging for scientific purposes into a competitive format. The WPBFC became an early advocate for the use of non-offset circle hooks when fishing for sailfish and required their use in the tournament prior to the National Marine Fisheries Service mandate. Author Mike Rivkin chronicled the Silver Sailfish Derby’s storied history in his book, The West Palm Beach Fishing Club: A 75-year History.