After the fishermen drifted off into the deep blue, the Extreme team went to work to put on a day filled with fun and festivities. As the vendors erected their tents around the stage, the band Behind the Houses played some lively music to draw beachgoers to the event. As the day progressed and the crowd grew, Zona Fresca arrived with free food that included some amazing fresh and cold ceviche. To wash that down, Saltwater Brewery kept everyone feeling happy with free beer.
To add to the festivities, the Sunshine SUP Series Race had their competition going on in full force with the best racers in the world competing for the crown. “There is never a shortage of sunshine and fun at this event,” said Paul Kabalin from Engel Coolers, a proud sponsor of the Extreme Tournament series.
Let’s rewind to just after the anglers launched. The airwaves were filled with trash talk as anglers joked about who would catch the winning fish. The first report of a fish on came across the VHF radio just forty five minutes after the anglers hit the water. “Sailfish on!” was the phrase that stuck out from all the other commotion on the radio. The camera boat requested the angler’s position, and gunned it toward the tailwalking sailfish. Once the camera boat arrived on scene, Jorge Bustamonte jumped in the water with his camera for the underwater footage, and an aerial drone operated by Alex Dolce took off to get some actions shots from above. The Extreme team had every angle covered to ensure the public could see what each angler experiences on a kayak when fighting a big fish.
Thirty minutes later, Joe Kraatz landed and released the first sailfish, putting him on the board early and securing the billfish division. Over the next two hours, the help boats were inundated with calls to pick up fish from numerous anglers. One can only imagine the help boats’ fuel bill after racing up and down the coast to pick up each angler’s fish and get them on ice.
After the morning madness started to die down, it was evident that the early bite was fading away. Anglers were doing everything imaginable to get bite before having to head west and make their way to the beach for the 2pm cut-off. A select few anglers felt confident in what they had caught; for others, their faith was slowly drifting away. Something would have to change quickly for the anglers who had been unsuccessful up to this point.
Suddenly, all hell broke loose. Justin Moody’s voice crackled through the radio, yelling something about a monster wahoo. The airwaves came to life with anglers asking for confirmation that a wahoo was hooked up. Justin replied, “I hooked a massive wahoo - he surfaced and I could see stripes.” The help boats raced to Justin’s side to capture what turned out to be the largest wahoo caught in tournament history. Justin’s screams of excitement after he landed the fish could be heard miles away. That was all the confirmation the other anglers needed to know the wahoo was in his kayak.
This massive wahoo would have been a great way to end and already amazing tournament, but the anglers were not done with their surprises. No sooner had Justin gotten his wahoo on ice, than there were reports of a 40-50lb cobia on angler John Sims line. There had yet to be a cobia caught in any Extreme Tournament - and even if there had been cobia caught before, this fish would have put them to shame. “The dream of a lifetime” was John Sims’ phrase. He landed himself in third place with this one fish.
Before the big weigh-in there was one important announcement to make as the crowd gathered. Spencer Milligan from Nautical Ventures made his way on stage to present Brian Nelli with the first ever Extreme Championship ring. Nelli earned this amazing ring for winning the “Battle in the Bahamas” tournament in April 2014. This awesome prize was sponsored by Nautical Ventures and Turbo USA.
Now it was time for the champagne shower while the winners were announced at the biggest weigh-in Extreme has ever seen.
Jack Daughtry from Maryland took first place with two kings weighing an astonishing 51.7lbs. He won $3,500 from Turbo USA a trophy cup from Broward Plaque & Engraving, and a custom Adrenaline “Extreme” rod made by Adrenaline Fishing Custom Rods.
Second place went to Joe Kraatz, whose two kings tipped the scale at 47.8lbs. He took home $1,500 from Nissan, a Hobie “Outback” from Nautical Ventures, a plaque from Global Fish Mounts.
John Sims grabbed third place with the tournament’s first cobia, which weighed in at 46.3lbs. John won a Hobie “Revo” from Nautical Ventures, $500 from Brus Room, and a pair of Costa sun glasses.
Carl Torresson finished in fourth place with two kings weighing 44.4lbs. He won a plaque from Global Fish Mounts, $200 from Turbo USA, andCosta sunglasses.
Justin Moody netted fifth place with his 36.7lb wahoo. He won the wahoo division and took home a custom wahoo mount from Global Fish Mounts, a rod-reel combo, and Costa sunglasses. He also won the Pelagic Division, taking home a beautiful Guy Harvey Jewelry necklace and a custom trophy made by Global Fish Mounts.
Hunter Irvine took the top junior angler spot for the third straight tourney. His 11.9lbs kingfish earned him $150 and a plaque from Broward Plaque & Engraving.
Joe Kraatz was the first angler to catch & release a sailfish. He won a free entry to the 2015 Sailfish Smackdown and a sailfish plaque by Global Fish Mounts.
John McKroid took home the Trash Can Slam division honors with his big 25lb barracuda. He won Costa sunglasses and a custom trash can mount from Global Fish Mounts.
Rob Rodriguez took the Wreck the Weight division with his monster amberjack. He took home a custom Extreme rod made by Adrenaline Fishing Custom Rods.
Last but not least, Jon Cunningham won the kingfish Calcutta with his 32.4lbs kingfish. He was stoked to receive $2100 in cash!
The organizers would like to give a big shout out to Joe Settebrino from Hillsboro live bait. Joe was a crucial part of the tournament’s enormous success. Without Settebrino’s dedication to the tournament, anglers would not have had the opportunity to have live goggle eyes, blue runners and pilchards delivered to them out on the water at a moment’s notice. After the tournament, he was astonished by the number and size of the fish caught. Joe said “This kayak tournament had a weigh in comparable to some of the big boat tournaments in the area.”
Also, a big thank you to Lu with Lucky Lu’s Charters for providing assistance to all the anglers with his help boat.