Capt. Nick Carullo // Goombay, Remix // 500 pts.
- Silver Sailfish Derby, 1st Place, 500 pts.
Capt. John Dougherty // Outage // 500 pts.
- Pelican Yacht Club Billfish Tournament, 1st Place, 500 pts.
Capt. Jon Meade // Showtime! // 500 pts.
- Gold Cup Team Fishing Tournament, 1st Place, 500 pts.
Capt. Andrew Rhonehouse // Jolene // 500 pts.
- Operation Sailfish, 1st Place, 500 pts.
Capt. Luke Davis // Off Course // 300 pts.
- Silver Sailfish Derby, 2nd Place, 300 pts.
Capt. Mike Brady // Cowpoke // 300 pts.
- Pelican Yacht Club Billfish Tournament, 2nd Place, 300 pts.
Capt. Jimmy Hardee // Seven // 300 pts.
- Gold Cup Team Fishing Tournament, 3rd Place, 100 pts.
Capt. Ricky Linder // Fish Tales // 300 pts.
- Operation Sailfish, 2nd Place, 300 pts.
Capt. Ryan McBride // Gator One // 100 pts.
- Silver Sailfish Derby, 3rd Place, 100 pts.
Capt. Garrett Yarbourough // Lo Que Sea // 100 pts.
- Pelican Yacht Club Billfish Tournament, 3rd Place, 100 pts.
Capt. David Berard // Tami Ann // 100 pts.
- Gold Cup Team Fishing Tournament, 3rd Place, 100 pts.
Capt. Art Sapp // Native Son // 100 pts.
- Operation Sailfish, 3rd Place, 100 pts.
2021 Contender Florida Division Captain of the Year
CAPT. NICK CARULLO
Priceless, Showtime, Remix
Silver Sailfish Derby, 2nd Place – 300 pts.
Operation Sailfish, 1st Place – 500 pts.
Final Sail, 2nd Place – 300 pts.
Quest for the Crest Series, Overall Champions – 250 pts.
If you’re familiar with the Florida sailfishing circuit then it’s likely you’ve seen photos of tournament teams sporting burgundy jackets, usually accompanied by big grins. Capt. Nick Carullo would be one of these individuals. The jackets, bestowed on winners of Quest For The Crest Champions, were donned by Carullo and his team after winning this year’s Series when the team took a second place spot after 21 releases in total at the Final Sail, which earned Carullo yet another coveted award: his second Captain of the Year for the Contender Florida Division title. Carullo and the team had previously won the Series in 2019 with Carullo winning the Captain of the Year Contender Florida Division that same year. Carullo also earned a third burgundy jacket when Free Bird, which he was captaining at the time, landed at the top of the standings in the 2018 Quest for the Crest.
“It was a great feeling to be back at top,” the Florida native says. “We’ve been a dominant team the last few years and we were excited to go back into it this year with the same team and same focus.”
The Showtime team was put together at the end of 2018 with owner Joe Fernandez, well, running the show. The core group has been together for about four years with Carullo, JC Cleare, Frankie Villasante and Doug Mientkiewicz having fished together for 10-plus years. The tight-knit bond the guys share is one of the main factors the captain credits for the team’s multiple wins.
“We all mesh well together and we all know how to run as a unit together so no one’s guessing about what to do,” Carullo explains.
One change for the team was the delivery of a 46-foot Release Marine Walkaround that they ended up fishing on later in the season. They had previously fished on a 42-foot Invincible.
“As captains you build trust in your boat as you build trust in your team,” Carullo says. “So going into that tournament it was a little nerve wracking but I got the boat dialed in. That boat is a sailfish machine.”
Along with a good crew and boat, preparedness is also key to Carullo when it comes to tournaments. He likens the fishing team’s mentality to that of a sports team where practice makes perfect, which means knowing the fishing grounds, knowing where the fish have been and being ready for anything thrown at them.
“I’m very competitive, I always want to be at the top and I demand a lot of focus,” Carullo says. “You need to learn the water, the current, the boat, the different conditions and just be out there and know what’s going on.”
As a captain, Carullo is always planning ahead. If there are windy conditions, he knows the team needs to switch to heavy kite lines, on no wind days it’s a 180 going light with the leader and hooks. Carullo is quick to emphasize the importance of bait.
On average, the team will be out catching bait four to five weeks before every tournament. It’s all about getting that perfect bait for Carullo. His aim is to get seasoned bait penned up and feeding properly over those weeks to keep them hardy come tournament time. Even handling—he makes sure that the team’s bait is dipped in and out of the boat one by one in a dip net—is key.
“You’re fishing against 30 or 40 other really good boats that have good bait,” he says. “But you don’t want good bait, you want perfect bait. It’s properly taking care of your bait like you’re taking care of everything else in the program.”
And looking back on the season, it seems this has proven true.
Now with another impressive year behind him, Carullo’s next goal as a captain is to win the Custom Boat Shootout in the Bahamas and keep moving on from there. For someone who grew up fishing with his dad out of Miami, got his captain’s license at 22 and wanted to one day be up there with the likes of Ray Rosher, who he mated under, Carullo doesn’t take his job and goals lightly. “To be a captain of a good program is special and you can’t take it for granted,” he says. “We get to do what we love and compete in big purse tournaments so you have to be grateful for what you do.”
- 2021 Capt. Nick Carullo // Priceless, Showtime, Remix // 1,350 pts.
- 2020 Capt. John Dudas // Sandman // 1,000 pts.
- 2019 Capt. Nick Carullo // Showtime // 1,250 pts.
- 2018 Capt. John Dudas // Sandman // 1,200 pts.
- 2017 Capt. Glenn Cameron // Floridian // 1,100 pts.
- 2016 Capt. Scott Fawcett // Off the Chain (Trust Me Too/Martha D) // 1,300 pts.
- 2015 Capt. Jim Mulcahy // BAR South // 850 pts.
- 2014 Capt. Wink Doerzbacher //Showtime! // 1,950 pts.
- Gold Cup Invitational Sailfish Tournament
- Pelican Yacht Club Invitational
- Silver Sailfish Derby
- “Quest for the Crest” Sailfish Series – Operation Sailfish, Leg 1
- Buccanner Cup
- Cheeca Lodge Presidential Sailfish Tournament
- “Quest for the Crest” – Sailfish Challenge, Leg 2
- Jimmy Johnson’s Quest for the Ring
- “Quest for the Crest” Final Sail, Leg 3
- “Quest for the Crest” Series
- Islamorada Fishing Club’s Sailfish Tournament
- Florida Keys Gold Series
- Dust ‘Em Off Sailfish Warmup
- Fish Heads of Stuart, “The Quickie”
- Pirate’s Cove Sailfish Tournament
- Islamorada Sailfish Tournament
- Stuart Sailfish Club Light Tackle Tournament